Consultants will seek out comments and suggestions from the public as they complete the municipality’s Urban Growth Strategy Review.
On Monday, council awarded the contract for the review to Sustainability Solutions Group. The contract is for $60,988, excluding taxes. Earlier, council had given early budget approval of $65,000 for the project.
The bid was not the lowest of the eight proposals received. Prices ranged from $49,400 to $83,000.
While an earlier municipal contract for janitorial work had to be awarded on the basis of price alone, municipal administrator Tom Day said the contract for the review was decided based on additional factors.
He said the successful bid included additional efforts to garner public input.
“They’re not all bidding on the same amount of work,” he said. “The one staff recommended is far and beyond in terms of service.”
The bid includes a significant public engagement process, including a sponsored barbecue at a municipal event, online input tools, signs to advertise the project, public open houses and land use modelling tools.
In addition, there are initiatives to involve youths in the process.
“We want a lot of youth participation,” Day said.
Members of council were impressed with the emphasis on youth involvement in the review.
“It’s important we engage the youth,” said Coun. Robert Hacking. “It’s their community we’re building.”
Coun. Peter Waterman was concerned with the number of ways the consultants plan to consult the community.
“It sounds too good to be true,” he said. “There are a tremendous number of points of engagement.”
Coun. Lloyd Christopherson said the proposal is ambitious, but Sustainability Solutions Group has done well in the past.
“These people do have a proven track record. To me, that is very important,” he said. “They’re taking a multi-focus approach on this.”
Summerland’s present growth strategy was adopted in 2008 as part of the Official Community Plan.
The strategy directs growth to the Prairie Valley area, primarily the property which was intended for the Summerland Hills Golf Resort.
The golf resort proposal has since been abandoned.
In addition, the municipality has adopted a regional growth strategy, a climate action plan and an updated zoning bylaw since the 2008 Official Community Plan was adopted.
The first of council’s goals and objectives for 2013 to 2014 is to work towards establishing Summerland as a sustainable community.
In order to achieve this goal, council is reviewing the growth strategy.
“At a time when municipalities are concerned about fiscal and environmental responsibility, it is important for us to revisit our urban growth boundary and associated impacts,” said Mayor Janice Perrino. “This is the most important document we will deal with this term.”