Salmon Arm  

Salmon Arm residents rank parks, environment, growth management as top priorities

Parks, growth key for city

Salmon Arm residents rate parks, the environment and growth management as their highest priorities, according to the results of an Official Community Plan review survey.

Results from the first community survey on the Official Community Plan were shared with the development and planning services committee on Monday.

Morgan Piemont, planning and development officer, was the author of the survey. She summarized the results for the committee.

“This was the first survey, there will be many other opportunities for the public to share their input,” Piemont said. “But we wanted to share the results of this first survey."

The survey was open from Jan. 4 to Feb. 9, and received a total of 417 responses.

Survey respondents were asked to choose which sections of the OCP were most important. The top answers were parks, recreation and greenways, the environment and growth management strategy. Respondents said these sections were the most important for the city to focus on going forward.

Coun. Kevin Flynn asked if the number of responses was a good turnout from residents.

“Does the consultant feel that the community engagement has been very good, mediocre, kind of middle of the road?" Flynn asked. “Because it's not the most exciting thing in the world, an OCP, but it's the most important thing.”

Melinda Smyrl, senior planner of development services, said for phase one of an OCP review, it received a pretty good response.

“The general consensus is that for the early stages, phase one of an official community plan review, things are going well,” Smyrl said. "However, we're very eager to get more input, solicit more comments from the public, and we'll be doing so through the future phases.”

Coun. Tim Lavery pointed out a potential dichotomy in responses to the growth management strategy section of the survey.

“I'll be looking forward to further stages,” Lavery said. “There's a dichotomy of what growth management strategy importance could mean between those who see the need for densification and those who want to keep Salmon Arm just the same.

"And I think that will be a key lynchpin for the OCP discussions down the line, and I look forward to that.”

Public consultation on the OCP is expected to continue throughout the year, with staff expecting to write a draft for a new OCP towards the end of 2024. Council is expecting to approve a new OCP in early 2025.

To learn more about the OCP review process, residents can visit the Salmon Arm Official Community Plan review project webpage.

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