People enjoy a cool fall day walk on the iconic Salmon Arm wharf at the city's Marine Peace Park. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

Column: Salmon Arm a Goldilocks city for families young – and not so young

In Plain View by Lachlan Labere

I remember when I represented one-third of a young(-ish) Salmon Arm family.

My son can still make that claim but me – not so much anymore.

I mention this after taking part in Mayor Alan Harrison’s virtual state of the city address to the chamber of commerce. His presentation revolved around what the city has, or will have, to offer young professionals/families who might consider making Salmon Arm their home.

Based on what I saw over the Family Day weekend alone, I think it’s safe to say this demographic has a healthy foothold in the community.

On Valentine’s Day I headed out onto Salmon Arm Bay to take photos of folks out enjoying a skate. When I arrived, I was impressed not only by the rarity and splendour of the sunny scene, but also the number of families and kids who were there, some far out on the lake, and the majority better prepared. (If, like me, you do not know how to skate, don’t run carelessly out onto a smooth-as-glass frozen lake without some form of ice grips on your feet.)

My neighbourhood has changed quite a bit over the past couple of years with a lot of new homes having been built, and a lot of families having moved in. You can tell just by the volume of sledders flying down Harrison Hill at Hillcrest Elementary this winter. And also by the number trick-or-treaters on Halloween, though more so in 2019 than last year.

Read more: Attracting young families to Salmon Arm key to growth of community

Read more: Salmon Arm, Kelowna, West Kelowna rank top 10 most resilient cities in B.C. for 2021

I don’t know if Salmon Arm is the only Shuswap community seeing an uptick in that young family demographic – It seems Sicamous is experiencing the same.

The mayor highlighted in his presentation the numerous assets Salmon Arm has to offer: low crime, various amenities, short commutes and an amazing array of outdoor recreational opportunities.

There are challenges yet to be addressed though. Housing, while “affordable” compared to larger urban areas like Vancouver or Kelowna, is still a pricey proposition for many, and options below $400,000 are limited. Opportunities for steady, full-time employment are also not abundant, but that’s part of why growth is important.

For me, Salmon Arm is kind of a Goldilocks community. It’s a city with a small-town feel. It’s lush and green in the summer and has a super cross-country skiing trail system nearby for the winter months. It is also close to family in the Vancouver area, but I’ll tell you — I’d choose to live in Salmon Arm over the Lower Mainland any day.

@SalmonArm
lachlan@saobserver.net

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