Urban Growth Strategy will have costs

I have been following the proposed Summerland land swap over the past months.

Dear Editor:

I have been following the proposed Summerland land swap over the past months.

One of my main concerns that I have not yet heard addressed is the costs that will be incurred by the Summerland taxpayers if the proposed development, as laid out by the corporation of Summerland, goes ahead.

There are many things that must take place.

The municipality must first install the necessary infrastructure to each existing parcel of land.

The current standards that are laid out by their bylaw for a residential subdivision are that each developer must put in, at their expense on their property, the following services: sewer lines, storm drainage, waterlines, underground power, street lights, cable TV, telephone, gas lines, curbs, sidewalks and new asphalt.

These are some of the upgrades our municipality should also be installing on their existing roadways leading up to each development.

This work should be done prior to any of the private subdivisions going ahead.

I realize that when each landowner applies for subdivision they will have to pay the development cost charges to the municipality for each lot that they create.

I would perceive that before all the landowners have done their subdivisions and paid their DCCs, 20 to 30 years could easily go by.

The costs to the corporation of Summerland to install their infrastructure could possibly cost $10 to $15 million, if not more.

Presently the DCCs for a single family dwelling are currently set at $8,613.

If there are 400 new lots created, this would only generate $3,445,200.

My calculation indicates this would only offset part of the corporation’s expense to complete this development.

As stated by council, they have already advised us that it is important for them to build up our financial reserve for future projects and not continue borrowing more money.

As a builder and developer in Summerland for almost 40 years, I can assure you that if I owned development property in Summerland I would be skeptical in today’s economy to start any type of large development in our area.

This is evident in the municipality’s success in attracting and retaining developers for the Wharton Street project.

I would encourage our municipal council to step back and look at instead of taking 80.34 hectares of land from the ALR, consider doing it in smaller phases.

The areas that should be considered first would be the areas where the majority of the infrastructure is already in place and the land is least desirable for agricultural purposes.

In last week’s Summerland Review, Tom Day, our municipal administrator stated that a referendum may be required when borrowing money for a five year period.

You could almost be assured that the majority of taxpayers would be opposed to borrowing large amounts of money for this development.

Let’s not look at removing any more land from the ALR than what is absolutely required.

Carsten Nielsen