I was utterly appalled at the way the town hall meeting was conducted.
People were under the impression they would have a chance to have actual dialogue with council. Writing a question on paper and having it read (or not read, as was most likely the case since I personally wrote approximately 10 questions and not one was read) is not most people’s idea of dialogue.
There are two things that strike me especially hard.
The first is that as councillors and our elected representatives, most of you are not listening to the people. It is so obvious that the majority of people in Summerland do not want this. And yet you continue to push this proposal forward, without allowing for actual dialogue.
The second blow was the fact that you read only one question about the issue of food security amongst the dozens of questions chosen. This floored me.
This is an issue that has been addressed repeatedly by members of the community, in letters to the editor, at the public hearing, in the numerous comments made by signatories of the Stop the Swap petition.
In reference to the concerns expressed by the public at the hearing on March 3, the mayor herself even commented in the interview on Daybreak South (March 4) that “I think if I had to label the number one thing it was probably food preservation.” (I’m sure she must have meant food security).
In her presentation, she skimmed over this issue, as if it were completely irrelevant. I find this morally reprehensible.
The mayor has repeatedly dismissed any questions regarding climate change and food security as inconsequential.
And I have not heard anyone else, except for Councillor Waterman, address this issue.
This is my most heartfelt question to all of you that I sincerely hope you will consider with openness and honesty:
Given the fact that the Agricultural Land Reserve was created in order to preserve and protect farmland for future generations, how can you, with a clear conscience, sacrifice this resource our grandchildren will need to feed themselves?
I would like to hear a response from each of you. This is a moral responsibility we all share.
You have invited questions. I look forward to an honest response to this question, which carries a profound weight that cannot be ignored.