This is my feedback on the Rattlesnake Mountain development proposal.
I am not in favour of it for the following reasons, not in order of priority:
o This development is clearly urban sprawl which, in past OCP and other future planning studies, was rejected by residents of Summerland for well documented reasons.
o There is enough available property in the urban growth area for up to 30 years, depending on how it is used.
o Future water supply is tenuous given climate change;we need to save more water,not waste it,especially for agriculture. The Okanagan, a semi-arid steppe ecosystem, currently uses more water per capita than most areas of Canada.
o Equally uncertain is the world’s economy, which falls right back to the Okanagan; economic boom days are forever over and we’d best plan accordingly. Not only will young families in the future not be able to count on permanent employment to buy into this development,the cost of building a home here will preclude this. Just the mention of businesses such as riding stables, wineries and other high end activities speaks volumes as to the incongruity of the developers thinking.
o This whole area is part of the endangered grasslands ecosystem in the Okanagan and should be rated at ESA1, not ESA2. It is incredulous to me that the environmental field assessment was done in only a few days and in February and April, winter and early spring, when many plants are not in bud or flower, many hibernating fauna species have not emerged and most bird migrants have not yet returned or in insufficient numbers to give an accurate assessment of species presence and numbers. The B.C. blue-listed Gray Flycatcher in the Summerland area returns in significant numbers only in the last week of April and many not until May, as a prime example of how such assessments can be unacceptably flawed.
o The plan of diverting water into the ephemeral ponds does not take into consideration the real possibility of water contaminated by salt and oil. It also appears that plans to mitigate the very real concern of infilling by sediment are inadequate.
o I am very concerned that the adjacent crown land north of this area will be deemed to be a personal back yard playground by the high-end residents. Thus, ATVs, dirt bikes and even many mountain bikes will degrade the sensitive ecosystem, harass and endanger wildlife, destroy flora. I have seen too much of this on all the surrounding mountains to support the validity of my concern.
o This development is based purely on speculation.
I cannot comprehend any developer financing this house of cards.