Letter: Proposed development in unsafe zone

This proposed development is detrimental to our entire community, from traffic to services to property values and lifestyles.

Dear Editor:

The proposed zoning change and development to the property known locally as “Bristol Gulch,” or officially as 13610 Banks Cres. causes us great concern and frustration. This proposed development is detrimental to our entire community, from traffic to services to property values and lifestyles.

A six storey, 600 plus senior living complex, in an unsafe red zone. We don’t get why, after hearing for 25 years, “no building there because that area consists of unstable cliffs and is designated red zone.” What exactly has changed to make it stable and safe now? We have lived adjacent to this agricultural property since 1992 as it is presently zoned. Someone has established that it is not in the ALR, and seeks to take advantage of that to make a buck. Can’t blame them, as we have so many acres in the ALR that are not productive in the core, why not exploit that area. This land is extremely arable and should be designated into the ALR, removing unproductive land in the core out of the ALR.

This is what has transpired throughout our district over the last 25 years, the developer driving the council, which has resulted in growth outside of the core, thus causing higher taxes and infrastructure costs which taxpayers must maintain. We have three industrial areas now and widespread housing developments. Our present costs for housing in this community are the highest in the valley, with lot prices around $300,000. No affordable housing is available to our young people who want to reside here and work, instead they are purchasing in Penticton and West Kelowna. We have land available in the core for a development of this nature, have them develop it. It might not be to their scale, or financial gain, but council should show the leadership and direction not the developer. This is not a viable location for a development of this magnitude, even if we only look at the traffic movement as one of many deterring factors.

Further to our Summerland Official Community Plan, Bylaw 2014-002, Section 11.0 Hazardous Areas, specifically 11.3.1.2: prohibit development on slopes and slope regrading to create development sites from lands, having a natural grade greater than 30 per cent etc. What is the impact of this development on the Red Zone at the corner of Solly Road and MacDonald Place? Parking for 300-plus vehicles on their proposed site in the gulch is not realistic. Is the plan to turn the Red Zone into a parking lot for access for staff, residents and visitors?

It would appear from your council’s website and Lark Enterprises’ application that a favourable response to their request is already in advanced stages, as evidenced by the planners report to council identifying revenues, reporting on traffic patterns, proposed property purchases nearby, and that drainage will have minimal effect to the fisheries water supply, etc.

We hope this is not a done deal and that council will respect its earlier view on having an open and communicative council that cares about all of Summerland. We are sending this letter via email to each council member individually. Let’s put this to a referendum so that most Summerland residents can have input, not just the developers and council’s view. We ask you to do the right thing for Summerland as so eloquently put in our Summerland Official Community Plan.

We are seniors now and in the future, will be considering a nice place to relax and enjoy the golden years, however, rest assured we will not be looking to be stuck down in a gulch with limited access by steep hills in the middle of a residential area with a limited view of the lovely lake. Wonder how many seniors feel this way and just how the occupancy rate will turn out? What happens then to this “viable proposal” and where on earth are they going to find a doctor?

Orv and Barbara Robson

Summerland