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Jul 15

City purchases part of former J.L. Jackson property

Posted on July 15, 2014 at 9:06 AM by Nancy Cooper

The City of Salmon Arm and the North Okanagan-Shuswap School District have reached an historic agreement to ensure that another part of the former J.L. Jackson property will be preserved for public use.

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Erin Jackson - Corporate Officer, Nancy Cooper  - Mayor,
Bobbi Johnson - Board Chair, Sterling Olson - Secretary Treasurer

Salmon Arm Mayor Nancy Cooper and Board Chair Bobbi Johnson are pleased to announce that a creative purchase agreement for a portion of the former J.L. Jackson site has been worked out. They describe the deal, which includes the exchange of a combination of cash as well as installation of off-site services, as a benefit to youth and the entire community, as well as fair for both the City and the School District.

The City will be purchasing “Lot 3” which is approximately 2.05 ha (just over 5 acres) for $1.5 Million. The agreement reached will see the City pay some of the property’s value in cash ($500,000) and the rest in services to upgrade the remainder of the former J.L. Jackson property frontage to the City Centre standard, which is almost a $1.0 million investment in downtown revitalization.

The off-site servicing work will be completed on Lots 1, 2 and 4 (as shown on attachment and owned by the School District) and will include improvements such as sidewalks, street trees, lighting and utilities, etc. which will enhance this important area of the City Centre.

The City will also be committing to build a park/playground (as envisioned by the Official Community Plan) on a portion of the site. The playground will be available for use by the School District’s early learners StrongStart program (to be housed in the replacement School District Administration and Education Support Centre) being constructed off Shuswap Street beside the Downtown Activity Centre.

Mayor Nancy Cooper says she sees the purchase as a good example of government agencies working together for the benefit of the general public and noted the purchase is also important for downtown revitalization.

“This purchase ensures that this strategic location will be secured and preserved for important civic uses. After the School District construction is finished (part of Lot 3 will be used for construction staging) the property will be used for youth soccer (as it has been in the past) as well as park / green space. Higher level cultural and athletic uses are being contemplated for the future, perhaps including a Performing Arts Centre and Indoor Soccer/Athletic Facility with a running track”. Cooper cautions, however, that “City capital and operating funds for such potential long term uses are not envisioned by Council”.

Board Chair Bobbi Johnson comments the Board is pleased that the City of Salmon Arm is purchasing the property. “It is wonderful that the much loved and used property will now be owned by the City and will continue to be available for youth and the broader community to use and enjoy. We are glad to be able to make this happen,” she adds.

Johnson said she is also pleased with the proposed playground, which will benefit any youth who would like to play there as well as those who are part of the School District’s early learning StrongStart program. She notes the services being provided by the City will save the School District considerable funds, and will also help make the final/northern portion of the site (Lot 4) more marketable. The capital funds raised through the sale of Lot 3 to the City will help fund the Board’s local capital projects, including upgrades to two schools and the replacement Board office.

Johnson and Cooper both thanked their respective staff for their creative thinking that went into an agreement that meets the needs of both parties.