Information meeting planned

Summerlanders who want more information about the proposed Urban Growth Strategy will have the opportunity to ask their questions.

Summerlanders who want more information about the proposed Urban Growth Strategy will have the opportunity to ask their questions at a town hall meeting on Monday.

The meeting, at the Summerland Secondary School Gymnasium, will begin at 6 p.m.

Members of municipal council will explain why they believe a change to the existing urban growth area was needed.

Municipal planner Ian McIntosh will explain the process used to gather input for the growth strategy now under consideration.

Mayor Janice Perrino said the meeting will be an opportunity for the public to ask questions about the details of the growth plan.

Representatives of two agricultural businesses, who wish to expand to land in the Prairie Valley area, will explain their plans at the town hall meeting.

A public hearing, where the public is invited to provide their views about the plan, will happen later in April.

“This is not a public hearing. This is an information session only,” she said.

Perrino said the proposed growth strategy was the result of input from many in the community.

Around 1,300 people are estimated to have participated in various workshops, input sessions and questionnaires.

“It’s very different from what was done in 1996 and 2008,” Perrino said.

The growth plan has generated considerable controversy since it was first discussed late in 2013.

The plan calls for the removal of 80.34 hectares of land within the Agricultural Land Reserve, close to the core of the community, while 91.7 hectares in the Prairie Valley area would be added to the land reserve.

Some of the concerns raised about the plan are about the removal of land from the land reserve.

A petition has been presented to municipal council with more than 2,600 signatures from people opposed to the land exchange. Of these names, 1,200 are from Summerland residents.

A public hearing was held on March 3 in the Arena Banquet Room.

The facility was at capacity and an estimated 50 people were locked out of the proceedings.

Most of those who spoke or submitted written comments were opposed to the plan.

Because some were not allowed into the facility, a new hearing will be held on Tuesday, April 22, at a larger facility.