LETTER: Summerland mayor’s comments puzzling

Land decision was made at council’s first meeting

Dear Editor

I usually make a point of not directly commenting on statements made by those in local elected office, but after reading the mayor’s comments last week where he states, “This council has consistently sought information before making a decision” and “You have to have all the information before you can make a decision,” I find this puzzling at best.

This mayor and council made the most important decision in 30 years regarding the long term planning of our community at their first meeting.

I would think most councillors were not even sure which chair to use!

This council withdrew the application to remove Agricultural Land Reserve land that for the most part was fully serviced and in the immediate down town area.

This planning initiative was the result of a year long community involved survey complete with workshops, on line intuitive exercises and open houses.

It is my understanding the Agricultural Land Commission was also involved throughout the process.

The entire project got blown out of the water by the catchy social media driven slogan “Stop the Swap.”

Regardless of where your passion lies regarding the ALR, don’t you think a bit of reflection and time to allow these new councillors to review the information, would have been a better idea?

After all, our community and previous elected officials had spent over a year formulating this long term vision.

I would think, had the ALC been given the opportunity to rule on this OCP amendment that they likely would not have allowed all the land to be removed, but because they understood the long term goal, it is very likely they would have come up with a workable compromise.

Because of this narrow thinking the community is continuing down the path of high development costs, very few family homes, and conversion of farm land to country estates.

Housing will only become affordable when they are built on land that is affordable.

It seems to me that future planning that includes a few parcels of little used, serviced land close to the town core would result in a much more affordable outcome than unserviced hill sides or infill older areas.

Communities require provision for a variety of accommodation types.

We have been through the phases of adult only condos, then condos over the store, then environmentally sensitive hill sides requiring servicing and apparently now condo towers over a spring under the clay banks.

Maybe it’s time for just a few normal family homes close to schools and shopping.

That’s what I think.

Don Hudgeon

Summerland

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