Questions raised about Banks Crescent development

Questions about a development proposal were raised at a public meeting on Thursday evening.

Doug Wahl was one of more than 20 people who spoke at a public question and answer meeting on Thursday evening. The meeting

Doug Wahl was one of more than 20 people who spoke at a public question and answer meeting on Thursday evening. The meeting

Questions about the Banks Crescent development proposal, especially its effects on the aquifer, the trout hatchery and traffic, were raised at a public meeting on Thursday evening.

The proposal, for a seniors development complex on Banks Crescent, came to council in November. However, the process began much earlier, in April, when the applicant met with municipal officials to discuss the proposal.

The question and answer session, at Centre Stage Theatre, was organized by the municipality.

Linda Tynan, chief administrative officer for the municipality, said the meeting was intended as part of the information-gathering process.

“Tonight is not a public hearing,” she said at the start of the meeting.

Several of the more than 20 people who spoke at the meeting raised questions about the location.

Wendy Jantz said there was no common sense in using the property for this development. “Can we put this development in a more suitable location?” she asked.

Paul Martin suggested using a municipally-owned property on Wharton Street for the development.

The Wharton Street property has twice come before council for a large development project.

Marj Plitt asked if the development would affect businesses in Summerland’s downtown.

Others raised questions about the possible effects on the stability of the site, the aquifer and the fish hatchery on Lakeshore Drive.

Aart Dronkers asked about the potential effects on the aquifer.

“If there is a risk, are you willing to take this risk, and at what cost?” he asked.

Doug Wahl questioned the figures and statements which have been made by the developer.

“I do not trust the developer and I’m losing confidence in the consultation process,” he said. He added that the developer’s presence at a municipal open house earlier in the week was inappropriate.

Members of the B.C. Wildlife Federation said the proposal, if approved, would have an environmental impact.

“You cannot convert that amount of land into a hardened surface and not have an effect on the hydrology,” said Rick Simpson, chair of the B.C. Wildlife Foundation’s fisheries committee for this region.

Residents living near the proposed development asked how the municipality will deal with increased traffic from the development.

Stu Connacher, who lives near the site, asked how Latimer Avenue can be widened, and in which direction.

Others asked how the municipality can deal with the increase in traffic along Solly Road.

At times the question period took on the tone of a public hearing, with some presenting statements of opposition instead of questions about the details.

In addition, some in the audience had signs opposing the development proposal.

“I think it’s obvious that the people say no,” Larry Achtem said.

At the end of the evening, a petition with 962 signatures was presented to municipal staff. The petition was started in December and has signatures from people throughout the community, not just those living near the proposed development.