Smart Growth absent from plan

It is curious how “Smart Growth” is being used as an argument to support the removal of prime farmland from the ALR.

Dear Editor:

Re: Community needs Smart Growth Strategy, Summerland Review Feb. 20.

It is curious how “Smart Growth” is being used as an argument to support the removal of prime farmland from the Agricultural Land Reserve in order to make way for housing development.

George Guernsey refers to Summerland’s Official Community Plan — Urban Growth Strategy as a “Smart Growth” strategy.

And, in his report to council on the topic, Ian McIntosh, Director of Development Services, states that, “The proposed amendments (are) supported by both Smart Growth principles and provincial legislation.”

Smart Growth principles? Really? Removing ALR land is nowhere to be found in of any of the 10 Smart Growth BC Principles. In fact, these principles stipulate that we need to protect scarce farmland from urbanization and make a better use of existing land and buildings for housing, otherwise known as “infilling.”

The Smart Growth BC website says it best:

“In many B.C. communities, new developments on previous greenfield sites (forests, farms — whether currently cultivated or not, wetlands, ‘vacant’ land) are being touted as ‘smart growth’ if they offer certain attributes such as affordable housing, proximity to shopping, or transit. In order for developments to be considered ‘smart growth’ they must adhere to all 10 Smart Growth Principles, including the protection and enhancement of our natural and cultural features.”

This is just another one of the many reasons why Summerland’s proposed Urban Growth Strategy is flawed.

Barbara Thorburn

Summerland