I sincerely hope that all those people in Summerland whose properties are in the Agricultural Land Reserve have had a chance to view the new map that has been drawn up by Municipal staff, showing the changes intended for our Official Community Plan.
Apparently the municipality hired a group of people from out of town to design a brand new Summerland.
Using an “as the crow flies” approach, these folks used a series of circles centred on our downtown core, where each circle indicated a 10-minute walk starting from downtown, to the next 20 minute circle, and so on.
The idea, I guess, was to exclude all those ALR lands that fall within the 10 minute circle to begin with and then proceed to the 20 minute circle, and so on. If your ALR property falls within those circles, you could see the designation of your farm land change from farming to residential.
A number of things bother me about this.
First, I would hope that anyone with land in the ALR whose property falls within the first few circles would not want to see his land rezoned residential. That’s what I would hope.
However, nearly everyone in town is aware that two of our council members have been trying to get their ALR land excluded for years. This would become a real gold mine opportunity for them.
Secondly, from the map, it appears certain properties along Aeneas Creek might be expropriated for a walking trail into downtown.
Thirdly, a ridge or bluff that runs from the Shewfelt property on Victoria Road North to Garnett Valley has also been included in this proposed change.
I imagine our town planners see this as perfect for residential home construction, giving them a selling factor by offering buyers a bit of a view of the tops of all the homes built below theirs.
As it happens, my home, and part of my orchard, sits on this ridge which extends around a corner leading into Garnett Valley. Don’t even think about trying to get that excluded.
The big plan, as suggested by our mayor on television, is to remove 200 acres of very viable agricultural land from the proximity of our community’s core in exchange for 250 acres of marginal land that the Municipality owns on the way to Faulder.
The only people to benefit from these changes to our OCP are some developers, realtors and two councillors.