In preparation for the public hearing on the Banks Crescent Development I urge the mayor and councillors to once again re-read and consider the contents of the Lower Town Strategic Plan and the 2016 Cultural Plan. These documents have been well prepared with considerable community involvement and endorsed by this council. I believe they accurately reflect the desires and values of local residents and how we wish to see our community develop over time.
Some key elements of these plans that I believe are relevant when considering the impact of the proposed Banks Crescent development on our desires and values are:
• Reflect the character and quality of life of our community;
• Preserve agricultural land;
• Protect the local environment;
• Preserve and protect the integrity of Lower Town’s residential neighbourhoods;
• New developments are compatible with the form and character of Lower Town;
• Support and enhance the historic Summerland Trout Hatchery;
• Protect the existing human-scale and small town character of Summerland and Lower Town;
Summerland residents enjoy living in a farming town. We like being surrounded by orchards and vineyards. We also take pride in not being a town full of “big-box” developments.
As I review the latest plans for the Banks Crescent development I find it hard to reconcile these well articulated values with this development concept.
We also seem concerned with housing affordability and the attraction of younger families to help keep our local schools viable. I fail to see how a luxury condo complex targeted to the 55 plus demographic in any way helps with this issue. I fully expect that many of these condos will be purchased by non-residents and a certain amount of them will be let on the short term rental market.
One only needs to review the provincial and national newspapers to understand how non-resident ownership and short term rentals affect housing affordability in some of Canada’s larger centres.
Developments along the line of the proposed Kelly Avenue project seems to me to be more in keeping with the desires and values that Summerland’s residents would support.
I respectfully urge council to carefully reflect and consider our documented values when making your final decision on how to vote on the OCP and zoning amendments required to facilitate the Banks Crescent development.