Places for growth

When the new municipal council takes office on Dec. 1, the first order of business will be a resolution to rescind a land application.

When the newly elected municipal council takes office on Dec. 1, the first order of business will be a resolution to rescind a controversial land application.

The application, before the provincial Agricultural Land Commission, calls for the removal of 80.34 hectares from the Agricultural Land Reserve near the downtown core, while 91.7 hectares in the Prairie Valley area would be added to the land reserve.

Since this land exchange was presented, many in the community have expressed their outrage about it.

During the election campaign in October and November, opposition to the land exchange was a key point for many candidates. Several of those who were elected had promised to vote to rescind the application to the Agricultural Land Commission.

Scrapping the land plan is clearly the direction Summerland voters wanted from the new council.

It makes sense for the new council to hold this vote as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, a decision to rescind the land swap application might not be sufficient.

While such a decision will put an end to a plan which raised the ire of many in Summerland, it is not necessarily the end of discussions and debates about future growth.

In British Columbia, municipalities are required to have growth plans in place.

Without proposed Urban Growth Plan, council is left with the direction for growth from the 2008 Official Community Plan. That plan identified the Prairie Valley area as the key site for future growth.

If the existing plan is considered workable for Summerland’s future needs, the matter is resolved. If not, the new council will be faced with the unenviable task of creating a plan which can accommodate growth.