Community Comment: Several important projects underway in Salmo

"Council and staff have been busy with budget preparations and planning for the future."

Council and staff have been busy with budget preparations and planning for the future.

Our updated Strategic Directions plan was endorsed by Council in February. This plan also charts our progress so far which includes: a new playground for our main community park; significant paving projects; road line painting throughout the Village; improved maintenance of our roads, sidewalks parks and cemetery; installation of electric vehicle charging stations; in-house ticketed operation of our water and wastewater systems; infrastructure improvements and the commissioning of major planning projects.

Long overdue upgrades to our Village office include the installation of a digital bulletin board in the lobby area saving us printing costs and enabling the Village to highlight current events and celebrate community achievements.

One such achievement is the earning of two gold medals at the 2016 BC Winter Games on February 25-27 in the para-nordic events of 5km and the 400 meter sprint by Salmo Secondary students Haley Olinyk and Mikayla Richens. Congratulations!

Our recent federal grant of $75,000 to redo our Official Community Plan (OCP) and merge it with a sustainability plan has put the Village on track to ensure our community plan is in compliance with the Local Government Act and reflective of current community vision and needs. This two year project will involve extensive community consultation.

Several other exciting plans are underway. Through a partnership with the Regional District of Central Kootenay, our cemetery will be plotted and mapped online in 2016 for both internal and public use.

The public will be able to search and see images of the cemetery site and headstones online.

This is all part of our effort to improve the maintenance and operation of our cemetery and ensure our loved ones have the lasting respect they deserve.

Council’s decision to prioritize “age-friendly” initiatives is moving ahead into the survey stage. I’d like to acknowledge the work of the Seniors Working Group and staff in wisely allocating the $20,000 in grant funds from the Province to identify issues seniors face in Salmo and how to better support and involve seniors in community-life.

Everyone is encouraged to complete the survey and are invited to the Seniors Public Roundtable Forum scheduled for Tuesday, May 17 at 6 p.m. the Salmo Valley Youth and Community Centre.

The forum will include a “dot night” portion where the public will have democratic input into the development of an age-friendly action plan to be adopted by Village Council.

Fire season is right around the corner and the Village plans to prepare this year by promoting FireSmart principles. The $10,000 grant we received for this purpose will involve public education and the hiring and training of a Local FireSmart Representative to conduct voluntary home inspections assisting residents in learning what they can do to minimize fire risk at their home.

August 16 to 31 has now been scheduled for the long anticipated renewal of the 6th Street footbridge installation project. The Village hopes to secure a grant from the Columbia Basin Trust to put a cover, abutments and lighting over the bridge for safety. As with most projects in the Village, this work could not be completed without the hard work and dedication of the Salmo and area volunteers.

Our Chief Administrative Officer has posted numerous summer opportunities including jobs for three full-time summer students and a WaterSmart ambassador. We look forward to new faces joining the Village team.

Council meetings continue to be well attended and we appreciate the public interest and input. Thank you Salmo.

Stephen White is the Mayor of the Village 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.