There is agreement on the value of the industrial park but not necessarily on growing its potential.
Jim Kimmerly, chair of the group Plan4 Prosperity takes issue with comments Salmon Arm Mayor Nancy Cooper recently made in her column in the March 25 edition of the Shuswap Market News.
Cooper noted the city is hoping to support local businesses and attract more industry by offering an industrial revitalization tax exemption program for specified areas of Salmon Arm, including the industrial park.
That includes a 100-per-cent exemption on the municipal portion of property taxes for five years, plus a five-year sliding scale exemption, returning the property to full taxation in year 10.
But Kimmerly says growth will be painfully slow if the “right elements” are not put into play.
Kimmerly says Plan4Prosperity maintains that, in order to attract more investment, the city needs to develop a comprehensive plan to address future expansion and growth, including support services such as sewer, streetlights, sidewalks, signage and expanded bus service for people who work in the industrial park.
“The Plan4Prosperity believes that this area could be made much more attractive to new investment in light manufacturing companies including renewable energy, technology and in a remanufacturing operation that makes new and useful products from waste material,” says Kimmerly. “These types of businesses would be a great addition to the many great companies currently operating in the industrial park, and go a long way in providing better-paying jobs that would help keep more of our young people here and attract more young families to Salmon Arm and area.”
While Cooper told the Observer she had no immediate comment, several councillors spoke up at the April 25 council meeting, where a tender was awarded to Mountain Side Earthworks Ltd. of Salmon Arm to install 325 metres of 525mm diameter storm main along 46 Avenue SE from Auto Road SE to 50 Street SE.
The almost $400,000 project will also include the installation of portions of curb and gutter with catch basins, ditching where required and restoration of all existing driveways.
“There has been significant development in the industrial park, said Coun. Tim Lavery, a statement that was followed by one from Coun. Alan Harrison, who noted the cost did not include the $70,000 plan developed for the project.
“We are doing what we can to make sure the industrial park is viable and attractive,” he said.
Coun. Kevin Flynn pointed out he would like to have an accounting of all the projects the city has completed in the industrial park and at what cost.