Community Comment: Salmo council replenished, grants bolster village

"Construction of the new playground is scheduled to be completed this fall."

With the rains of early September all of us have some relief from the forest fires and smoke.

Our Salmo Fire Department had volunteered and was authorized to travel to assist with the Stickpin Fire that threatened our neighbors in Grand Forks.

Thankfully they were not needed but it’s just another example of neighbors helping neighbors and communities that unite when in peril.

We thank all the women and men who worked so hard over the summer to keep us safe.

As of September 8t Salmo will once again have a full complement of Council members.  We all welcome Councillor Diana Lockwood and Councillor Jonathon Heatlie.  Both long-time residents of Salmo, they bring much experience to their new roles and we all look forward to working with them.

The last article from Salmo noted we were waiting to hear if we had obtained a significant grant for replacing much needed playground equipment in our central park.

The grant, which includes campground and ball field improvements among others, has now been approved by the Columbia Basin Trust, together with grants from the Regional District of Central Kootenay and Western Financial Group.

We are grateful to these supporters.

None of this would have been possible without the assistance of our Chamber of Commerce who worked hard to organize various committees to revitalize our parks.

Particular thanks to Heather Street and Jacquie Huser who spent many hours coordinating these groups and bringing forward park plans to Council.

Construction of the new playground is scheduled to be completed this fall.

Our CAO Diane Kalen-Sukra has begun preparing Council for the strategic planning and budgeting process, which we intend to complete earlier this year than in any other.

This process will also help to integrate our new Councillors and measure the progress we have made over the past nine months.

This progress includes moving forward on numerous civic works initiatives — including road paving, line painting, parks and cemetery maintenance improvements; meeting our statutory requirements around records management, professionalized operations and financial reporting, to name just a few.

To make this progress possible, our CAO has secured grant funding in the past six months equivalent to approximately  one quarter of annual general government expenditures. This does not include over $100,000 in pending applications which we expect to learn about before year-end.

We have also increased Council grant-in-aid contributions to our community volunteer groups which are the life blood of the Village. These have helped sports teams, the arts community, outdoor recreation groups and youth groups among others in delivering valuable services to our residents.

We are particularly proud of the work of the Salmo Lions Club which has successfully undertaken the maintenance of Railway Garden Park along the highway and made it an attractive location for visitors and residents alike.

This initiative is something we would like to build on. It not only beautifies the way along the highway, it is also emblematic of the volunteer-spirit of our community while encouraging visitors to stop and spend time in our charming Village.

Together with the behind the scenes foundation-building work such as putting in place proper administrative and financial controls and retaining and promoting dedicated staff, Salmo’s future is very bright.

Stephen White is the Mayor of Salmo

Community Comment is an opportunity for elected officials from our local municipalities to update citizens in the region on the events, plans and progress in their respective communities. Every Friday, the Trail Times will present, on a rotating basis, a submission from councils, school trustees or regional district directors.