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Salmon Arm Rotarians commit $200k for new rubberized walking track

Council supports project in principle

The Rotary Club of Salmon Arm wants to to contribute $200,000 towards installation of a rubberized walking track at Shaw Centre.

This would be the most the club has ever committed to one project, said Rob Marshall, chair of the club’s walking track committee, during a July 24 presentation at city council.

Marshall explained the idea for a track came up about four years ago, at which point a committee was struck to determine its feasibility. However, he said no conclusion or consensus came from a meeting with the Shuswap Recreation Centre Society and the city, and “things just kind of came to a halt.”

In response to renewed interest in the track, a new committee was formed and, after receiving some encouragement from city staff, the club voted on supporting the project. Marshall said a majority of the club’s members voted to “support the amount of $200,000 towards the installation of a rubberized walking track, appreciating the benefits to all demographics and what an asset this would be going forward.”

The track would run around the upper floor of the Newnes Spectator Arena.

Marshall and the club asked for the city’s support.

“That’s our green light to proceed with our fundraising efforts…,” said Marshall. “We have a significant portion of the funds raised to date. We will still continue with our fundraising efforts that we do on an ongoing basis and it is our desire and hope we would be in a position to have this walking track installed during the next, we’ll call it a down time at the rec centre which, from my understanding from Mr. (Darby) Boyd, would be from next May to July.

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“We feel quite confident we would be in a position to see that happen with our club’s commitment.”

City administrator Erin Jackson offered the motion that council support in principle the walking track proposal as outlined by the club.

Coun. Debbie Cannon said she was at the table when a walking track was considered a few years back and one of the things that came up was the need of specialized maintenance equipment.

Salmon Arm Recreation general manager Darby Boyd said the rubberized surface would require a polisher that, as of October 2022, cost around $15,000. Boyd said there would be additional costs including parts, soaps and increased maintenance.

“Right now, it’s polished concrete and the colour of it is such a way that it will handle a certain amount of wear and tear, whereas a surface like this, you want to get it cleaned up pretty quick, you don’t want the sand and salt coming in being left on that surface for any period of time,” said Boyd.

Coun. Louise Wallace Richmond said the rubberized walking surface would be a wonderful addition to the community, playing an important role in support of active living.

“That building is more than a rink, it’s a public place that everyone worked hard to get and everyone deserves to be able to use it,” said Wallace Richmond, noting she’s confident when budget time comes that “we’ll have a solid discussion about that so we’re prepared to take good care of the gifts our community gives back.”

Mayor Alan Harrison said he appreciated the Rotary Club’s ambition and choice of project.

“I think it’s really important for council to understand, we have some contribution here too, and I think Coun. Wallace Richmond addressed that well,” said Harrison. “That’s part of what we need to do. But if your contribution is $200,000 and ours is $20,000 a year, the citizens of Salmon Arm are getting very good value.”

Council voted to support the motion.
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