The growing list of names on a petition to preserve farm land near Summerland’s core is significant and must be taken seriously.
At present, there are more than 1,600 signatures on the petition, with more added each day.
By comparison, the number of Summerlanders who participated in the various surveys, workshops and discussions on the proposed Urban Growth Plan was around 1,300.
The purpose of the numerous public consultation meetings and exercises was to ensure the resulting plan was the community’s plan. When roughly one in seven Summerlanders and the community’s Advisory Planning Commission suggest the plan be rejected, it is time to take notice.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to simply abandon the growth plan — and not just because of the time and money involved in developing the plan.
Without a new plan for growth, Summerland is stuck with the strategy in the 2008 Official Community Plan, and that strategy is no longer workable.
The 2008 Official Community Plan was based on the Summerland Hills Golf Resort development. When that development was abandoned, it effectively meant the plan was unworkable. The cost of extending the necessary utilities is prohibitive unless a large development is put in place. No large development plan for that area has come forward since the end of Summerland Hills.
It is clear that the existing growth plan no longer works.
Without a new plan, the deterrents to growth in the community become significant enough to dissuade developers and potential new residents from considering Summerland.
In this case, the status quo does not work.
Summerland must adopt a new plan or risk stagnation.