No matter which option is selected for the municipality’s urban growth plan, it will involve some compromises.
The growth strategy will set out how future growth is to be organized in Summerland.
Of the three scenarios which have been proposed, two would involve removing land from the Agricultural Land Reserve in order to allow for development.
For the compact development scenario, around 45 hectares near the existing town core would have to come out of the land reserve in order to accommodate future growth without sprawl.
Such a suggestion will be met with resistance from some within the agricultural community.
If agriculture is important, then by extension it is important to have land set aside for farming.
At the same time, it is important to remember that there are portions of land close to town within the Agricultural Land Reserve which have not been farmed for decades. Developing such properties would not change the amount of land actively farmed in Summerland.
Conversely, the hillside development scenario, which does not involve the removal of any land from the Agricultural Land Reserve, has its own set of challenges.
This scenario, similar to Summerland’s existing pattern of growth, results in a spread out community.
The benefits of a compact, walkable community are reduced with such a plan.
A third option, which puts development along existing corridors, would require the removal of around 80 hectares of agricultural land.
The question which arises during this planning process is the same question which arises any time land use issues are on the table: How can land use decisions meet the needs of both the urban and agricultural segments of the community?
There is no easy answer.