Proposed expansion plan is not a new idea

This concept began over 100 years ago when Summerland was conceived as a real estate venture for wealthy English folks.

Dear Editor:

The proposed north and east expansion of our downtown is not exactly a new idea.

Some folks would have us believe it was even thought up so a couple of our councillors could have their land included in the Urban Growth Area.

This concept began over 100 years ago when Summerland was conceived as a real estate venture for wealthy English folks.

Lowertown began on the lake shore necessitated by transport but when the railroad made stern wheelers obsolete the commerce moved to West Summerland.

From there the town grew to the north and east with continuing “infilling” between the two zones.

Even the hospital was built on the hillside beside Solly Road.

Later the highway further encouraged development along the main transport corridor.

It was only in 1972 with the advent of Premier Barrett’s vote catching ALR scheme that orderly urban growth came to a halt at Bristow and Quinpool.

Thus began our quest for “urban sprawl” when planners, land owners and developers were forced to ferret out small parcels that were either too small to be included in the ALR or were exempt. In spite of this restriction our community did continue to grow but often in a very convoluted fashion and sometimes in places that are difficult and expensive to live, service and maintain.

One reason why it has taken so long for urban planers to get it right  is because former councils always put a caveat on the consultants that there was to be no change to the ALR boundaries.

I was on two Official Community Plan committees and this was our mandate.

At least the last time we managed to get some of the preamble and vision right, but we were not allowed to change the maps.

Over the past year the consulting group came up with very innovative and inclusive methods of trying to obtain input from all factions in the community.

The workshops were well attended by a reasonably good cross section including students, business people, seniors and growers.

We were all given a chance to participate in a constructive hands on venue. I understand over 1,300 townsfolk provided input

Collectively these participants agreed this was the best plan for our community.

I think it would be very difficult to fault the methodology behind the process.

Those who preferred to not take part but now wish to complain do not have much credibility in my books.

The opportunity was very well presented.

Don Hudgeon

Summerland