A new citizen group was formed over the weekend named “Summerlanders for Sensible Development.”
Its purpose is “to encourage development in a way that is harmonious in which people and environment are treated in equal consideration as money.”
The immediate goal is to stop the Banks Crescent Development Project as proposed by the Lark Group.
So far, so good. Citizens should be actively involved in the evolution and governance of their community.
Our concern is that as this group gains momentum, those who do not subscribe to their point of view are classified as gamblers, easy to fool, tolerant of violent psychological stress, inexperienced, greedy, easily influenced and confused.
This approach to public debate is destructive and borders on bullying.
We appeal to the named citizen group to moderate their tone and language and not to intimidate those who wish to present arguments in favour of the project.
This applies to council members and citizens alike.
There may be a number of reasons why the project should be supported.
The current owners of the property do not wish to continue vineyard operations and put the property up for sale. It is just a matter of time before someone will buy it.
The vineyard will disappear and this may be a good thing. Grapes are not indigenous to the Okanagan. Their cultivation requires significant amounts of herbicides, pesticides and various types of pest control.
A well thought-out all-inclusive project may improve the flora and fauna in the undeveloped red zone areas while the use of harmful substances can be reduced in the development area.
The end result could be a replacement of non-indigenous plants with indigenous varieties. This would allow much of the valley to revert back to a more natural state.
Ideally the vineyard should be removed and replaced with an all-natural plant cover.
The current owners chose not to do this.
But perhaps those citizens who openly speak out against the project could purchase the property and return it to its natural state? This would be of benefit not only to adjacent property owners who form the backbone of the citizen movement, but to all Summerlanders at large. It would be the most sensible development option and eliminate all further controversial debate.
Has such a proposal been presented to council?
Henry and Angela Sielmann