Summerland council considers land use at proposed solar site

Summerland council considers land use at proposed solar site

Questions raised about whether solar panels are best use for Cartwright Mountain site

A resolution on a solar energy project for Summerland turned into a discussion on land use during the municipal council meeting on Monday evening.

The proposed Solar+Storage project was designed to allow Summerland Power to produce some of its own electricity.

The plan calls for 3,200 solar panels and storage batteries, giving Summerland Power the ability to generate 1,200 kilowatts of electrical power.

While a site on Cartwright Mountain had earlier been selected for this project, on Monday evening, council members raised questions about whether solar panels would be the best use for this site.

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Coun. Doug Holmes asked why land close to Summerland’s water treatment plant had not been included in the recommendation. He said the Cartwright Mountain location could contribute to sprawl in the community.

“If we’re really committed to asset development, this is not the way we should go about it,” he said.

Coun. Erin Carlson said the the future potential of the Cartwright Mountain site should be considered.

Mayor Toni Boot said the Cartwright Mountain site was recommended as the preferred location for the solar project because of technical considerations.

Coun. Richard Barkwill said it is important to consider the land Summerland would give up by placing solar panels on the Cartwright Mountain property.

He said housing is an issue in the community and land for housing is expensive.

However, Corine Gain, director of development services, said the topography on the mountain is very limiting for residential development.

A resolution to gather information on alternate locations for the Solar+Storage project was passed unanimously.

Coun. Marty Van Alphen was not present at the Monday council meeting.