Input received for plan

The public has been given multiple opportunities to provide comments and information for the community’s proposed Urban Growth Plan.

The public has been given multiple opportunities to provide comments and information for the community’s proposed Urban Growth Plan.

The plan was received by municipal council on Dec. 9 and will be considered by council in the new year, likely in late February.

Municipal planner Ian McIntosh said the public was invited to participate in the planning process numerous times in 2013.

“We have done a huge amount of public engagement,” he said. “We have done the best we could to involve a lot of people.”

There were more than 16 meetings for input.

A total of 459 people responded to an online survey.

In all, around 1,300 people participated, through surveys or at open houses and workshops.

“This is the most comprehensive public engagement exercise ever undertaken within our community and on a very important issue,” Mayor Janice Perrino said.

“We really wanted to get the people out,” McIntosh said. “Everybody got their say.”

The plan will replace a section of the existing Official Community Plan.

The community plan, which sets the direction for growth and development in Summerland, was adopted in 2008, in a 4-3 council decision.

Future growth in Summerland was to be concentrated in the Prairie Valley area, the site of the proposed Summerland Hills development.

The development later was abandoned and as a result, there are no plans for the land in that area.

The proposed Urban Growth Plan no longer focuses its attention on the Prairie Valley area. Instead, growth is to be concentrated in the core of the community.

Doing this involves removing 87 hectares from the Agricultural Land Reserve to accommodate infilling.

Before the plan can be approved, it must be presented to municipal council. A formal public hearing will be held during that time.

The hearing is expected to be held in late February.

Those who live on lands which are affected by the change will be contacted about the hearing. For the rest of the community, notice of the public hearing will be advertised in the Summerland Review and announced through the municipal newsletter and online.