There was a celebratory mood as Columbia Shuswap Regional District directors unanimously approved $325,000 from the Sicamous and Area Economic Opportunity Fund for three major projects that are expected to benefit the entire Shuswap.
The board first approved $150,000 toward construction of “island landscape design” within the Main Street roundabout being built by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.
Presenting the three proposals to the regional district board on March 17, Sicamous chief administrative officer Evan Parliament explained the district wanted to have control of the island design, which is expected to cost $305,000.
Parliament said the design will include lighted panels and will have different themes depending on seasons, events etc.
“We’re excited about controlling the design,” he said, noting the district is partnering with CSRD, First Nations bands and Shuswap Tourism.
It is hoped the project, to be located at the intersection of Highway 97A and the Trans-Canada Highway, will attract the travelling public to stop in Sicamous.
“It will be money well spent and we’ve had several conversations with Rhona (Area E director Martin) and she is onboard,” said Mayor Terry Rysz. “We are going to put together a committee, then we’ll come up with a consolidated design.”
While sharing his support for the roundabout, alternate Golden director Ron Oszust had some advice for the district.
“We have a roundabout and ours was displayed in a calendar that features roundabouts of the world,” he said to laughter. “Ensure you have adequate parking in the area because people will stop to take photos.”
Parliament assured him Sicamous council is eyeing the Tru Valu site, which is adjacent to the future roundabout and would have ample parking and would be able to accommodate RVs as well.
Parliament also expressed excitement about a new mobile stage, which is expected to arrive in June.
CSRD directors approved $75,000 toward the purchase of the $154,907 cost of the large mobile stage, which is expected to stimulate the local economy.
The stage has been included in the 2016 financial plan for $220,00, as portable washrooms are also to be purchased.
“The stage will be available for not-for-profits and others,” said Parliament with enthusiasm. “We already have three bookings – for July 1 and 2 and for the Stomp in August.”
Rysz said the $100,000 from the economic opportunity fund towards the total $254,367 cost of a new boat launch at Old Town Bay will be a great draw for Sicamous.
“This will be universally accessible to everyone,” he stressed.
Added Parliament, “Twin Anchors is building a massive dock and marina and we will place a covenant on the dock so people can park their boats. The dock and land will permit public access.”
The district didn’t just take from the economic opportunity fund, they handed back $75,000 for digital signage that had been approved by the board in 2014.
“We’re going in a different direction,” said Rysz. “At this stage, we don’t require the funding so we’re putting this back.”
Martin told the board she fully supported the projects.