Business and agriculture questions raised

The question asked is how do we make Summerland a viable community.

Dear Editor:

I have written that I am opposed to taking land out of the Agricultural Land Reserve.

The question asked is how do we make Summerland a viable community. I have some suggestions that I would like to add for consideration.

1. Rental costs for stores in town are too high. Most of the buildings are old and long since paid for. If supply and demand rule market price, then clearly this is the time when those rents could be lowered to encourage businesses to stay.

2. Winter tomatoes and peppers are often greenhouse grown. Why can’t this ALR property be leased out and have our town be the supplier of the area’s greenhouse vegetables? We would not be trucking food from California and Florida so our carbon footprint would be smaller and we wouldn’t have to genetically modify the fruit to make it transportable over long distances.

3. People still buy canned fruit and vegetables. Sadly, Okanagan canneries have been closed down, which meant loss of jobs for lots of Summerlanders. Can we not encourage more value added industry to support our fruit growers?

4. I wonder why a housing development was created right beside our James Lake Industrial Area. This seems like strange planning. I hope that the meat store that requested to have an abattoir on its premises will be encouraged to do so in the Bentley Road Industrial Area. We want industry but we don’t allow it.

5. Encourage people who used to butcher highly valued chickens and other meats to reopen as it has become apparent that the large industrial butchers are the cause of the disease-producing meats.

6. I was interested to read about John Bennest’s scientific inventions and in-home productions. Perhaps there is a place for more scientific industry. Any ideas, John?

7. Could the co-op buildings be turned into reasonably priced warehouse or office spaces for people who have small business ideas or home businesses but would like a space outside the home?

8. I heard a wonderful idea from a thoughtful woman the other day. We really need an addition to the Parkdale Place complex’s Angus Place. The waiting list is years long and our population needs more independent living space as provided by Angus Place. Her idea was to create such a place with the library on the main floor, giving easy access for all Summerlanders. With the library about to be built at the corner of Main Street and Kelly Avenue, why can’t this be put into the works.

9. Keep open to the idea of an agricultural college in Summerland and continue to canvass the provincial government especially as our food needs are increasingly apparent.

That’s it from my desk for now.

Diddy Evans

Summerland