Letter: Arguments are unsubstantiated

An open letter to the Summerlanders for sensible development group

Dear Editor:

The fear-mongering must stop!

To you handful of letter writers calling themselves Summerlanders for Sensible Development, please unplug your keyboards and give it a rest.

Your claim to express the will of your fellow citizens on the basis of three irrelevant questions is not only presumptuous; it belittles the professional process of engineering assessments and citizen engagement followed by our elected representatives and district staff.

Your petition based on unsubstantiated claims, published well before the Banks Crescent engineering studies were even underway, is not any more meaningful than polling people about a trip around the globe after telling them that the world is flat.

You want me to buy into your comparisons between the Banks Crescent development and a botched drilling operation in Vancouver conducted by an unlicensed operator without a permit? Who along with the landowner left the country to evade prosecution? Is this what you expect the Lark Group to do after investing $100 million in our community? Or are you simply trying to scare hundreds of families living on silt deposits across Summerland into believing that their homes will slide down the hillside?

Are you trying to make me responsible for the fish hatchery which after 100 years of operation still has not developed a backup water source even though the Shaughnessy Springs may shift, dry up or get contaminated anytime?

Why are you spending all of your energy on a six-acre isolated vineyard when three times as much agricultural land in Trout Creek, much of it in a flood zone, is being blanketed with new homes?

Do you realize that in order to replace the anticipated tax revenue from the Banks Crescent development, should it not proceed, 100 to 150 additional homes must be built, consuming another 25 acres of land? Is this how you propose to save our agriculture?

How can you say that Banks Crescent will cost us all, as your signs around Lowertown claim, if the district’s financial analysis, just published last week, concludes the opposite? Are you saying that these professionals do not understand their jobs?

I think it’s time to dial down the rhetoric. Give staff and council the opportunity to complete their analysis and develop an objective assessment to be shared with us all. Then let’s speak up at the public hearing.

Until then, let’s celebrate the festive season, applaud our merchants and sponsors for organizing a wonderful 30th Light-Up, give the Kettle Valley Steam Railway Society a hand with fundraising for our trestle bridge and let’s look forward to the long-awaited rejuvenation of our community by welcoming the many students whose highly-respected UNISUS International School will bring new life to our little town.

Henry Sielmann

Summerland

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