A comprehensive report on future urban growth in Summerland will be received and studied on Monday.
The report is the result of more than a year of public meetings and consultations, with comments from more than 1,000 Summerlanders, on the direction of growth for the community.
Mayor Janice Perrino said the document examines options for growth and what must be done to accommodate each one.
Options include putting new growth into non-agricultural parcels of land even if this results in a patchwork structure or removing some land from the Agricultural Land Reserve near the core of the community in order to create a compact, walkable town core.
During her time as mayor and on council, Perrino has often promoted the concept of having a compact town core, with the majority of growth contained within a 10-minute walk of the downtown area.
Others have stressed the importance of preserving all agricultural land, even if this means having residential development scattered in order to accommodate farms.
At present, much of Summerland’s population lives near the core of the community, but there are also residential developments adjacent to active farms.
Roughly 35 per cent of the land in Summerland is within the Agricultural Land Reserve. The reserve was created in 1972 to preserve the province’s agricultural land.
The present Official Community Plan was adopted in 2008. The document sets out the direction of land use within the community.
In that plan, the proposed Summerland Hills development was the only area set aside for future growth.
Summerland Hills was a large-scale golf resort and residential development to be built at the western edge of the municipality.
When that plan was abandoned, Summerland was left without a place for future growth to occur.
Perrino said the growth strategy was a weak spot in the community plan.
The present council and the previous council have recognized the need for a review of the urban growth strategy which would see growth concentrated in the core of the community.
For some in the agricultural community, removing any land from the Agricultural Land Reserve to accommodate urban growth would be unacceptable.
Once the future growth report has been received, council will discuss how to proceed on a future growth strategy for the community.
The document will be on the municipality’s website this afternoon, contained in the municipal council agenda for the week. The website is at www.summerland.ca.