Summerland’s farm land must be preserved

I attended the Stop the Swap rally in Summerland on Feb. 10 and wholeheartedly agree with the sentiments expressed at that event.

Dear Editor:

I attended the Stop the Swap rally in Summerland on Feb. 10 and wholeheartedly agree with the sentiments expressed by the speakers at that event.

Although I am not a full-time resident of Summerland, I am a Summerland landowner and taxpayer who spends a portion of each year in the town.

I grew up in Summerland and am happy that it has preserved its small-town feel and most of its farmland.

I know that there is always pressure to develop farmland, particularly when it is close to downtown.

The very attributes of the  land that make it valuable for farming — flat land and deep, fertile soil — are attractive to developers because they reduce the costs of development.

When I was a child going to the elementary school, there was an orchard where the recreation centre now sits.

In Kelowna and Penticton, productive land that once grew peaches, apples and field crops is now occupied by houses and shopping malls.

Thank heaven the Agricultural Land Reserve was created to stop this valuable agricultural land from being lost forever.

Yes, some growth is inevitable. However, we can increase the density of our existing developed areas and use more marginal land for housing and industrial uses.

We should not pit combatting climate change against preserving agricultural land.

Local sustainable agriculture is part of sound environmental practices.

I urge all Summerland residents to make their voices known on this issue and to support the farmers in this area by opposing the swap.

Joan Mason

Victoria