After the public info session last evening, the two agri businesses that came forward saying they would buy land in the Summerland Hills area neglected to mention that they could or would buy that land now if the municipality would put it up for sale.
It isn’t available for tender yet because the municipality wants to have it to swap with the Agricultural Land Reserve land in town. In other words, those sales are not dependent on the Summerland Hills land going back into the ALR. Those two presentations were just made to sound like that — just a little more manipulating the facts.
The municipality is playing politics with the Summerland Hills land.
Second, Mayor Janice Perrino’s whole argument is that we need more taxes. If the ALR land in Summerland is developed, lots of people will move here and shop downtown. This is totally pie in the sky.
There are presently hundreds of people within walking distance of downtown. Still stores close. The areas proposed are not really within walking distance. People will get in their cars and drive to shop in Penticton and Kelowna. Summerland is not now and will probably never be a shopping centre. The downtown stores that do well are novelty stores that cater to specific needs.
At any rate, people are not going to move here simply because there are houses.
This proposal to dispose of quality ALR land is short sighted and not at all well thought out, in spite of the council’s insistence that it is.
If they had spent the money, time and energy to come up with a plan to take advantage of Summerland’s existing ALR land to make this a unique food, wine and agri training destination, we might be getting somewhere.
This council made it pretty clear they are decided. They aren’t listening to anything else but the sound of their own voices. Let’s make sure the Agricultural Land Commission (4940 Canada Way, Burnaby, B.C., V5G 4K6) hears from the rest of us.