Planning land use

The reasoning behind a proposed land use plan makes a lot of sense.

The reasoning behind a proposed land use plan makes a lot of sense.

If development is concentrated in the core of the community, it will be easy to accommodate growth and the result will be much better than the present mix of small residential pockets among the farms.

For years, Mayor Janice Perrino has spoken of the benefits of having development concentrated within a 10-minute walk from the downtown core.

While there is much merit in this suggestion, there are also two areas of concern.

First, much of the land along Victoria Road North, Jones Flat Road and Garnett Avenue is in the Agricultural Land Reserve. Removing this land would be a controversial move.

For the past four decades, the Agricultural Land Commission has been in place to ensure the province’s agricultural land continues to be available for farming.

The land commission may be more willing to release land if an equal or greater amount, of equal or greater quality, is offered in exchange.

Even if the land is released for this growth plan, another challenge remains.

How will the municipality prevent more pocket residential neighbourhoods from springing up in agricultural areas?

Some who move to Summerland want to live in an idyllic setting, surrounded by orchards or vineyards. But mixing working farms with non-farm neighbours often results in conflicts for both parties.

Every time a pocket development is approved in an agricultural neighbourhood, it adds to the existing sprawl in Summerland.

Designating land close to the core for residential development must be done in conjunction with other efforts to keep farm land and residential land separate.