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Mayor, councillor maintain Salmon Arm’s foreshore trail a ‘jewel’ as is

Letter writer says recent flooding highlights need for city to have a vision
A section of Salmon Arm’s foreshore trail that is prone to flooding during spring freshet. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

While they agree Salmon Arm’s foreshore trail is a jewel, the city’s mayor and resident Vivian Morris differ on how it should be kept.

“There is so much potential in our foreshore but it will take vision and money to realize it,” said Morris of the trail in a letter received by council at its June 26 meeting.

In the letter, Morris explains she was glad to see some of the $3.6 million in COVID-19 Safe Restart grant funding received by the city went towards improvements along the trail, commenting the idea behind the upgrades was the trail would no longer need to be closed due to flooding. However, she noted parts of the trail continue to flood.

“We need to make all of the foreshore trail good quality and safe,” said Morris. “Beyond the boardwalk, the trail is narrow and rocky. People fall there frequently. I’ve long held that the city does not have a vision for the trail. Trails in other towns are the crown jewels of those towns.”

Morris said this year’s flooding further highlighted the need for a vision.

“I realize it is complicated by the agreement with SABNES, but leaving the management of this precious asset to a group of aging volunteers with limited funds has resulted in what you see today: rotting platforms and a dangerous trail at the Raven end,” said Morris.

In response to Morris’ letter, Coun. Kevin Flynn asked if anything really can be done to prevent the trail from flooding. In response, Mayor Alan Harrison said he would be speaking with Morris, and shared what he planned to communicate.

“First of all, I love her passion for that trail… and a lot of her letter is very accurate,” said Harrison, pointing out the trail improvements were to an area north of Christmas Island and south of the boardwalk. He said the areas Morris was referring to include the long, flat strip running parallel to Christmas Island, and parts north of the boardwalk.

“The area that is opposite Christmas Island is designed to flood,” said Harrison. “It’s going to flood because it’s a low spot and it’s supposed to flood so salmon can get back and forth from one side to the other.

“The benefit of it flooding is the trail is also closed to dogs… at that time it is nesting season. So it’s not all bad and it’s usually only closed for three to four weeks, that area. So the solution to… that would, in my opinion, probably not be environmentally beneficial, and I can live with not running that stretch for four weeks if that’s the case.”

Harrison went on to say he and Morris agree on a lot of things about the trail, but differ when it comes to changing the nature of the nature trail.

“It’s not a paved trail. It’s not a freeway trail, so it’s not super smooth,” said Harrison. “It’s like a nature trail and there’s very, very few like it in the province.”

The mayor suggested the city could spend some money on the far (north) end of the trail, but added that could be tricky because there’s CP property there.

“So I’m going to have that conversation with her,” said Harrison.

Flynn too commended Morris’ passion for the trail but reiterated it’s a nature trail and is not “designed to be paved or perfect…”

“I do think it is truly a provincial gem and anytime it gets in our correspondence, it lets more people know about it,” said Flynn.

READ MORE: City raising low, wet areas of popular Salmon Arm foreshore trail

READ MORE: Improvements to Salmon Arm’s Foreshore Trail to be part of budget deliberations
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