On Monday evening, the municipality will host a town hall meeting to provide information about the proposed Urban Growth Strategy.
While the meeting will include a significant component for questions from the public, it is not a formal public hearing.
This is an opportunity to learn more about the plan and what it will mean if it is adopted. The time to present opinions about it will come later, at the public hearing on April 22.
The information session is necessary since the plan has some significant implications for the community.
Whether the plan under consideration is adopted, Summerland must face some difficult land use issues in the coming years.
For years, concerns have been raised about the lack of available land for new manufacturing or industrial businesses interested in relocating in Summerland.
A lack of affordable housing has also been identified. For young families on limited budgets, the cost of housing in Summerland as compared with other nearby communities is a factor which must be considered.
The increasing average age of our population, declining student numbers and the loss of some retail businesses are also factors to consider.
Any decisions involving land use will have some far-reaching implications.
At the same time the information presentation may be too late. For those who have taken a strong position on any side of this issue, it is unlikely their views will be swayed as a result of an information session at this time.
However, the challenges facing this community will not go away. There are significant issues to consider.
In order to have good dialogue and make wise decisions, it is important we have the necessary information.