A decision has not yet been made on whether Summerland will house a proposed regional compost facility, but already many in the community are concerned about the possibility.
The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen has suggested Summerland as the site for the facility, which would handle wastes from the entire regional district.
Since Summerland was suggested as a potential site earlier this year, and especially since the community was recommended as the preferred location earlier this month, residents have raised questions about the proposed facility.
The concerns include odour, the potential effects on the municipal water supply and truck traffic along Prairie Valley Road.
At present, however, those questions cannot be answered. More information is needed. The information-gathering phase is an important part of the decision-making process.
Any time a large-scale project is proposed for the community, it is the responsibility of council members and municipal staff to examine the proposal before making a decision.
Without adequate information, it is impossible to make a wise decision.
It is equally important for the members of council to hear from the public.
At present, many have spoken out against the proposal. Their voices must be considered.
However, it would be irresponsible for council members to reject this proposal, solely because of the public outcry. Public opinion cannot be the sole deciding factor in this or any other significant decision.
This matter will not go to a referendum. Instead, the members of council will make a decision, based on what they see as the best interests of the entire community.
There is a process involved in making decisions of this nature, and unless that process is followed, it is not possible to make wise decisions.
Eventually, the council members will have to make a decision to approve or reject the regional compost facility.
For now, their role is to listen, to study the details and to consider the facts.