Information provided to the public regarding Summerland’s solar project as been incomplete. From the beginning, there has been a reluctance to even consider other uses for the proposed property.
The benefits of the solar project were discussed in detail. The only other mentioned use for the property was to sell the property: $2 million. But, what happens if the property is sold and developed?
The property in question is 863 metres from Giant’s Head School. The sewer specified area touches the property. Access to the property would be the Ottley Road municipal access road, a gentle slope compared to adjoining Morrow Avenue.
There have been many proposals for this property including the Okanagan prison, and the UBCO Wine Centre proposal. In 2015, there was a residential proposal which included 69 residences.
Using municipal data, the average home property taxes is $3,089 and with 69 houses, this would generate $213,141 per year. Again using municipal data, for the average utilities (water, sewer and electrical), 69 houses would generate $194,304 per year. (Total annual revenue: $407,445.)
The cost benefits of the solar project were calculated over 35 years. What if we apply the exact same 35 year time period to this developed property ? To make it easy, we will assume that there will be no increase in property taxes or utility rates over the 35 years. And what if we ignore the revenue generated from building permits, development cost charges and the value of expanding municipal services. Using this extremely conservative estimate, this developed property would generate $14,260,570 in 35 years. And don’t forget the $2 million for sales.
Modifications to the 2015 proposal could include much needed affordable housing. The issue of affordable housing has to be close to top priority for any local government.
Summerland should continue to place solar panels on municipal buildings and encourage solar panels on commercial building and homes. With this ‘new’ information, the proposed solar project should be revisited.
David E. Gregory
To report a typo, email: