LETTER: Risks are too high

I have concerns over the objectivity of district staff and management re the handling of the information about the Banks/Bristow proposal.

Dear Editor:

I have concerns over the objectivity of district staff and management re the handling of the information about the Banks/Bristow proposal.

It appears that our CAO is focused primarily on revenue for the district, taxes and building permit revenue. As a result, the risks could be getting downplayed.

Are the mayor and staff being objective about this proposal and looking at all the data being presented or are their minds made up?

There are many factors to consider. The risks are too high to consider moving forward with this project in this location.

Events that will happen are: property values in the area going down significantly, noise from the area during and after construction, Solly Road deteriorating over time due to the increased heavy traffic, the densification for that area will be at least 60 times higher than any other area of Lowertown, and increased infrastructure support costs over time that the citizens of Summerland will have to pay for with their tax dollars.

Events that have a high likelihood of happening to some degree are: units will remain empty, units may not all get built and left in half construction mode, the strata changes the use of the buildings in the future to Air B&B or other such uses.

Events that if they do happen will have catastrophic consequences are: red zone collapses and houses at the top of the ridge fall into the bowl injuring someone or worse, water supply for the hatchery gets impacted and hatchery closes, storm water gets into hatchery water supply and the hatchery closes.

Why doesn’t the town consider offering a land swap to current Bristow land owners for land uptown and let the developer build this market condo development and seniors complex in the right location and the district can lease out the Bristow bowl for continued agricultural use. If the land values are not even between the two properties, the district could allow the current owner free use of the bowl for a specific number of years to continue growing grapes. This way there would be no capital outlay for the district to purchase the Bristow bowl, and the entire swap would be a win-win for everyone.

No zoning changes would be required, no construction in the Bristow bowl, but the district would still get the revenue for the build uptown, and all the proposed jobs that are going to be created would still be available.

Brian Wilkey

Summerland