I came away from last week’s public hearing saddened to hear the extreme measures some will go to in an effort to discredit a plan that was developed by residents of our community.
I also thought some speakers took unfair shots at local officials. The majority campaigned on this issue.
I think it is time for rational heads to prevail and also abolish some of the more popular themes.
Conflict of interest: If those councillors are land speculators, they aren’t very good at it. They have owned this land for almost 40 years.
The conspiracy theory: Of course the planners would have consulted with the Agricultural Land Commission long before the Future Summerland process began because if the ALC would not have entertained the idea then we would have been told not to touch the Agricultural Land Reserve boundaries. This was the first time the public have been given the opportunity to consider expanding the Urban Growth Area beyond Quinpool Road.
Prime agriculture land: In my case this “prime land” includes 3½ acres of 37 degree natural slope, three acres of commercial building and truck yard, about two acres of gravelly hillside, about one acre of rich top soil and the balance of normal gravelly land common to our area.
I think it is time for us to come up with viable options.
We have seen our last 30 years of options and some of them are not pretty or viable. Recent examples are Rock Garden Estates, Cartwright North, bare land strata over Dale Meadows and wild fire development overlooking James Lake. They did not require ALC approval.
I don’t believe any time soon we will start building new homes in someone’s back yard or knocking down four older homes to build multifamily homes.
The ALC have been inundated with objections and have heard from practically none of the supporters. Now it is up to them to weigh the evidence.
In the meantime we should all be thinking about our future. Do we really want to isolate about half our installed urban services for the possibility some of this land may feed future generations?
If the ALC approves this plan, how do we envision our community in the future?
If they don’t, what’s our better idea?