1,600 sign petition opposing land exchange

A petition urging municipal council to keep more than 80 hectares in the Agricultural Land Reserve has around 1,600 signatures.

A petition urging municipal council to keep more than 80 hectares in the Agricultural Land Reserve has around 1,600 signatures.

The petition was stared in early January in response to the municipality’s proposed Urban Growth Plan, which would remove the land near the core of the community from the land reserve while adding close to 92 hectares in the Prairie Valley area.

While the proposed plan would leave Summerland with a slightly larger amount of agricultural land, those circulating the petition have said the plan would ultimately hurt agriculture.

The land considered for removal is some of the best and flattest farm land in the community, said Erin Carlson, a farmer and organizer of the petition.

Katie Sardinha, another member of the Stop the Swap group, said other areas should be considered for future growth.

“There is no shortage of development land in Summerland,” Sardinha said.

“The report identified eight different potential growth zones which are not in the ALR.”

She added that the downtown infill zone alone could sustain Summerland’s growth needs for the next 11 years.

Carlson said the signatures on the petition and the people who have been speaking out about the loss of agricultural land should show the value the public places on farm land.

Stop the Swap will hold a rally in Memorial Park on Monday, Feb. 10 at noon.

The first reading of the Urban Growth Plan will come before council on Tuesday, Feb. 11.