LETTER: Development comes with potential risks

There are many reasons why the proposed Bristow Valley Development is inappropriate.

Dear Editor:

There are many reasons why the proposed Bristow Valley Development in Summerland is inappropriate and for the taxpayers, the potential risks are substantial.

Misleading statements by the developer that have made their way in our media and on flyers need to be challenged: “The Fish Hatchery and Aquifer will not be impacted” and “the aquifer and the hatchery will be entirely safe and will remain undisturbed.”

Statements claiming there is no risk are simply untrue. In none of the engineering reports commissioned by the developer and the district is there mention of proof and or certainty regarding damage to the Hatchery’s water source and surrounding slopes.

So, no matter what, there is a chance, however big or small, that something goes wrong.

It can happen tomorrow or 10 years from now.

The damage is likely irreversible as is demonstrated by the many landslides in the lower town area and elsewhere in the Okanagan.

Landslides and damage to an aquifer or water source typically do not announce themselves. They happen quickly and violently or they can take much longer because they originate below the surface.

In the case of the proposed Banks Crescent development in the Bristow Valley, there is definitely risk for damage to the water source of the hatchery, for sinking of the soils at the building site, and for landslides in the surrounding bluffs.

That risk does not go away.

If disaster strikes, typically taxpayers cover the damages.

For instance, an ongoing case in Vancouver has the city council and its taxpayers shelling out $2.7 million in an attempt to control an artesian well from an aquifer that was punctured in 2015 during drilling activity on a private residential property.

More than one billion litres of water have been released from the aquifer and the artesian well is still not contained as the costs continue to mount!

Is the Summerland council and its taxpayers willing to accept the risks associated with the Bristow development?

Are they willing to be responsible for damages and in the worst case loss of life?

Would you dear reader?

Aart J. Dronkers

Summerland