Maintaining ALR helps our carbon footprint

In the Summerland Urban Growth Strategy, removing 87 hectares of ALR is spun as a way to improve our carbon footprint.

Dear Editor:

In the Summerland Urban Growth Strategy, removing 87 hectares of ALR is spun as a way to improve our carbon footprint: building houses within walking-distance of downtown, the argument goes, will reduce emissions because people will need to drive to town less.

There are two major problems with this argument.

The first problem is that just building houses near downtown doesn’t guarantee there will be a decrease in vehicle emissions.

There are many reasons that Summerlanders currently living within a 25-minute walk choose their cars over their feet – winter weather, the need to transport heavy groceries, health issues, and time constraints are a few – and building houses near downtown will not eliminate these reasons.

If new developments attract young families without providing local jobs, people may even need to commute to neighbouring communities for work, perhaps buying groceries in these communities, thereby eliminating any potential benefits of walkability.

Council’s report doesn’t raise these issues. In fact, it doesn’t contain any data to support the claim that people living in the proposed growth zone will walk, such as data on current Summerlanders’ walking behaviour, or whether this will significantly effect emissions.

Thus while walkability and emissions-reduction is the primary argument for choosing to develop the ALR lands in question over other available areas, there is no data to support it.

The second problem is that building houses within walking distance of downtown stands to have less of an impact on our carbon footprint than protecting agricultural land.

By converting ALR into developments we reduce our capacity to grow and distribute food locally and regionally.

This makes our region (and province) more reliant on food shipped from places like California and Mexico and increases emissions: indeed, the David Suzuki Foundation reports that the average meal travels 1,200 kilometres from farm to plate.

Seen at this scale, eliminating ALR in Summerland stands to worsen our carbon footprint by increasing emissions elsewhere.  If council is really serious about curbing climate change, it should be seeking to protect and even expand our agricultural land base.

Katie Sardinha

 

Summerland

 

 

Just Posted

Budding tennis stars learn the ropes

Students at local elementary schools get some lessons in tennis

Lawsuit claims medication mishandling at Penticton’s hospital

The claimant says her doctor ramped up her bipolar medication before cutting her off

Indigenous grad rates make big strides in SD67

Educators are praising major efforts toward inclusivity for the recent improvements

Mamas for Mamas founder survives with new lease on life

Kelowna’s Shannon Christensen escaped a dangerous situation and lived to tell about it

Valley First Endowment grant helps OSNS in 2017

The grant for the OSNS teaching kitchen just one of the ways First West helps communities.

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

VIDEO: Dramatic video shows return of B.C. snowboarders

Two snowboarders were rescued near Rossland, B.C. on Sunday after being lost overnight.

Tom Brady leads Patriots back to Super Bowl, top Jaguars 24-20

New England to face winner of Sunday night’s game between Minnesota and Philadelphia on Feb. 4

Lawsuit claims medication mishandling at Penticton’s hospital

The claimant says her doctor ramped up her bipolar medication before cutting her off

Coquihalla drivers prepare for snow

Wintry conditions persist, with snow warnings for Coquihalla

Tychonik continues scoring run

Vees chalk up another win with Pink in the Rink

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Final phase of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trials to kick off in B.C.

Doctors hope to get psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy legalized in Canada and the U.S. by 2021

Most Read