The petition against the proposed development of Banks Crescent in lower Summerland has been ongoing for six months now, yet some residents still don’t know about it.
Lark, the developer, is trying to get this small piece of agricultural land rezoned to High Density Zone 8 in order to build 390 condos in five multi-storey buildings.
This proposed development sits on top of the aquifer that feeds our 100-year-old fish hatchery and has the potential of destroying the water source that the hatchery relies on.
Summerlanders for Sensible Development started a petition against the rezoning of this agricultural land in the winter with a few volunteers going door-to-door notifying residents.
The petition has now grown to more than 2,300 signatures.
This petition is important. It shows our mayor and council just how many people think this proposal is wrong for many reasons.
Summerland currently has a four-storey limit on its buildings. That’s what our Official Community Plan recommends. It fits nicely in the downtown core.
If you double that construction height, times it by five buildings and put in an isolated pocket among larger lots of single family houses, it changes our community.
As we gather these signatures, we are hearing the voices of thousands of residents who believe council is not listening to the people.
Sometimes there are line-ups to sign and many have said they wish they could sign multiple times.
Comments of disbelief arise as people ask “Is council still going ahead with this?” or “Hasn’t this gone away yet?”
This isn’t just a Summerland issue; it’s a valley-wide and beyond issue.
If this proposal goes through it sets a precedent that it’s okay to build underneath red-zoned cliffs, it’s okay to jeopardize the future of the hatchery and it’s okay to ignore the OCP.
The 2,300 signatures is equivalent to almost 25 per cent of the eligible voting population figure for Summerland. It sends a strong message to elected officials that a large portion of residents don’t want this development either in this location or in this town.
If council allows High Density Zone 8 on top of one of our most important natural resources, the aquifer, it opens up a large can of worms for developers to want high density living almost anywhere in Summerland.
What’s to stop two or three homeowners of larger single lots from banding together and applying for high density rezoning in the middle of quiet neighbourhoods?
Summerland is a uniquely beautiful town and residents like it that way. They are happy to commute to Penticton or Kelowna as needed, but don’t want to live there.
Young people want to move here as it’s a wonderful place to raise a family.
We have great schools, yet if we don’t have young families, our existing schools are at risk for closure.
This is about the future of our town as we know it and it matters.