After numerous consultations and discussions, Summerland’s proposed Urban Growth Plan passed first reading at the municipal council table on Tuesday evening.
“This has been the culmination of the better part of a year in the planning department,” municipal planner Ian McIntosh said as he presented the plan.
Work on the document began in February 2013 when municipal staff set a goal of receiving input from at least 1,000 residents.
Around 1,300 people participated, making this the most extensive public exercise held in Summerland.
The plan is a significant departure from Summerland’s existing growth plan, which was part of the 2008 Official Community Plan.
The 2008 plan sets out a portion of the North Prairie Valley area for Summerland’s future growth.
At the time the community plan was created, the Summerland Hills Golf Resort was in the plans.
The golf resort proposal was later withdrawn and no other development proposal has come forward for the same area.
The growth plan now in the works would call for 75.8 hectares in the Prairie Valley area north of Highway 40 and 15.9 hectares between Highway 40 and McLellan Road to go back into the Agricultural Land Reserve while a total of 80.34 hectares closer to the town core would be removed.
McIntosh said the proposed growth plan is around half the size of the former growth area.
He added that it will meet Summerland’s growth needs for years to come.
“It provides growth 30 to 50 years into the future,” he said.
The first reading of the bylaw was carried with Coun. Peter Waterman opposed. Coun. Bruce Hallquist, who owns land in the affected area, was absent for this item and Coun. Lloyd Christopherson, who also owns land in the affected area, was not present at the council meeting.
Several steps remain before the plan can be adopted.
A public hearing will be held at a special council meeting on March 3.
Council will then consider second and third readings of the bylaw, possibly as early as the March 10 council meeting.
Once the bylaw passed third reading, it must be forwarded to the provincial Agricultural Land Commission and other provincial government agencies for approval.
Council cannot adopt the bylaw until it has received approval from the land commission.
“It’s not law until it’s adopted,” said municipal administrator Tom Day. “Any council can amend it thereafter.”