Association of Citizens for Summerland

Monday, February 28, 2005


Make sure to get out and Vote on November 19th. It is your democratic right. Make your voice heard at the polls! Voting will take place at two locations, Summerland Senior Secondary School and Giant's Head School. Remember to bring two pieces of ID.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Make Yourself Heard

Municipal Council has posted their open house questionnaire (PDF) online -- please note the deadline for handing it in to the Municipal Hall is Tuesday, March 1st. It asks for feedback about the open house and offers space for comments on the issues you think are most important.

A group of concerned citizens has a separate questionnaire (PDF) focusing on specific development issues -- they ask that you hand it in to the Summerland Art Centre at 9533 Main Street, no later than Thursday, March 11th. They tell us the results will be tabulated, presented to Council, and published.

Update on Feb.28th: Tomorrow is the deadline for returning the municipal questionnaire.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Meeting over... so how was it?

Well, we attended the meeting last night at the baptist church, and overall I'd say we came away with a positive impression. Certainly a good effort was made by council & the planners to provide some much-needed (by me, at least) background information and visual aids. As far as specific issues go, I'm still digesting but I'd be really interested to hear what others had to say about the experience. Comments?

In the meantime please remember to fill out the questionnaires that were provided both by council and a group of concerned citizens, and let your opinions be known that way. One interesting note on the council's sheet - they propose having regular annual or semi-annual meetings along the lines of last night's - I think this is a great idea. I came away from the meeting armed with more information, and that's always a good thing. Speaking for myself, the fire in my belly throughout this whole experience has been fuelled in large part by a lack of readily available and/or easily processed information on a lot of these issues. In such a vaccuum we're forced to default to speculation and assumptions, and we all know the little saying about assumptions. If nothing else, more face time with the members of council, outside the formal environment of chambers, could go a long way to bringing all parties closer together.

We're going to take a few days off from posting to reclaim some lost time, but please feel free in the interim to comment on anything you see here, or to email us your posts if you have them.

...more to come!

Monday, February 21, 2005

Open House Tuesday

If you've been paying attention, you already know that there's a public open house to discuss most of the issues we've been tossing around on the site. Here are the details yet again, so you can't pretend you didn't know:

Tuesday, February 22 4:00PM - 9:00PM Baptist Church on Elliot Street

What topics are you curious to ask about? The OCP and potential rate of growth? Developing ALR land? Golf course plans? Water issues?

Update: If you don't have much time to prepare for the meeting, start at p.27 in the second draft of the OCP (pdf) and read a few pages. Then look at this simple map (pdf) showing the Urban Growth Areas and Future Growth Areas.

Phased Development

One thing has been bugging me. I commented about here in another post:
"Although the OCP does encourage the concept of infill development, there's no implied order or sequence. Could it not specify an order of development, so that hillsides up Praire Valley or any ALR land couldn't be developed at all until all the sewered, non-ALR land in the 'urban growth area' was infilled?"
As we've been talking about this concept, I see that it wouldn't have to be extremely rigid -- maybe there's a ratio to the sequence. So once 80 percent of the remaining non-ALR land near sewer and water lines in the urban growth area is full, then they move to approving the next phase, which might be the least viable (agriculturally) ALR land closest to downtown. When a ratio of that was full, they could move on to the next priority. It would seem to be a more ordered, rational approach, rather than spending piles of money developing a hillside suburb nowhere near town while land is vacant in town.

In the last minutes from the OCP stakeholders group, there was a bit of coverage of this issue:
"Rick Cogbill brought to the group’s attention that the Planner would like to have some phasing put in to place, and would like the group to come up with priorities for development in certain areas.

Rick Valenti responded to this comment by mentioning that East of North Prairie Valley would be an excellent initial place to expand because it is the closest to the current sewer system, and the next priority would then be Jersey Lands.

Tony Cooke felt that the logical places for new building are the sewered areas with higher density potential, especially those close to the Downtown core.

Doug Crumback stated that we should prioritize future growth areas based on the direction the sewer will likely be extended first. ie if Bentley Road gets sewer first then possibly Rattlesnake Mt should be one of the frist priority areas for a future growth area."
If the town planner was asking for this kind of priority list, it would be interesting to ask him whether that has actually been done.

Mark's Two Cents

Mark Siemens sent us his take on the OCP and Smart Growth:
"Smart Growth seems to be a reputable organization that wants to promote sensible growth in urbanized areas. I think their philosophy serves larger centres better than smaller communities such as Summerland. In Summerland it is still not to late to control high density development on ALR lands. There is still a sufficient land base that currently is zoned higher density to satisfy future growth for many decades.

Taking land out of the ALR at the rate the second draft of the OCP recommends is premature, I am not convinced we need to touch ALR lands at least for this version of the OCP. I strongly support re-zoning in the town core that would encourage owners of lots with detached housing to sell to developers that would better utilized this precious land resource. Increasing the density of land adjacent to the downtown commercial area would revitalize the downtown business community and allow future residents to be less automobile dependent."

Council's Role in Controlling Growth

From the most recent minutes of the OCP Stakeholder's group, comes this revealing opinion from one of our councillors:
"Rick Cogbill commented that Council really shouldn’t limit population growth, as growth will happen regardless of what anybody does. The only thing that the OCP can and should do is to tell the developers where they can build, rather than telling them they can’t build. We can’t limit growth, we can only direct it. If we limit the growth, the town will die, therefore we must create a plan which will use the inevitable growth to our benefit."

I can't agree with this, particularly the crystal-ball scare tactics about the town dying if it doesn't grow fast enough. If our council does indeed feel powerless to control the types and amount of growth in our district, then we've either got a serious problem in council itself or the structure of municipal government. Aren't town councils elected to carry out the wishes of its citizens?

Update: Douglas Williams didn't think this was fair at all to Councillor Cogbill. I should point out that his words were paraphrased in the minutes. If you see him at the open house, it wouldn't hurt to ask him about what he thinks Council's role is in guiding development to hear it from the source.

Jerry's Letter

Jerry Pagliocchini sent us an e-mail about how the development up at Deer Ridge has led to erosion and drainage problems for the residents below in Prairie Valley. An excerpt:
"I think we should be very selective if we decide to develop our mountains and ridges. I am not saying we don’t develop them if it meets a need but we should put a great deal of thought into it and should only consider development after an extensive environmental impact study has been done.

We all know that the ALR was created to protect agricultural land. When the ALR was created, it forced development to take place on the hillsides and slopes of mountains. I don’t think many people envisioned the environmental consequences that followed. We all know the situation in the Fraser Valley with residential development on hillsides and ridges. I feel we have a parallel situation unfolding in Summerland in Prairie Valley. Prior to the development at Deer Ridge the people living down slope - Hermiston, Kolbus, Washtock, Von Krosigh, Webbr and Haytec did not experience runoff like they now do."

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Frustrated Orchard Owner

Terry Harnett sent me two items last week that help represent some views we haven't heard here (or in the papers) up until now. This first one is a personal account of his dealings with agricultural land in Summerland. Comments are welcome as always, but please be respectful -- this is Terry's personal experience and I appreciate this submission:
"Back in the early 80's after visiting Summerland several times, I thought to myself, 'this is one hell of a nice place to live',so I purchased a little block of land with apple trees and a house on it. Great! I leased the orchard out to a prominent orchardist in Summerland, as I did not know much about growing apples. Although I came from a dairy farm backround, I new the value of land and thought that this would make me a nice comfortable lifestyle for me.

Several years went by and the orchard was being well looked after, I thought. To my supprise when the lease was up again, the orchardist was not interested in running it anymore! I asked her why and she replied, 'there is not enough return for the amount of work'. I asked, 'why don't you buy it off me?'

She said, 'I'm not that stupid!'

'Thats fine, I'll get someone else.' I was surprised again and again, no one wanted to look after a small orchard. Then the bloody coddling moth! That was the last straw for me. A Cat 966 loader and a couple of dump trucks will fix all my problems. I'll put sheep and cattle on this ALR land and make a couple of bucks, thats what its for -- farming!

But 'Oh NO', it's the smell now. 'O THE SMELL OF GREEN!' ALR Land grows one thing and that's complaints. A large portion of this flat land is unproductive and has no chance of becoming viable land again. Summerlanders -- think smart and cost effectively."

Saturday, February 19, 2005


Terry Harnett also forwarded me a copy of this document that has been circulating around. I feel like I remember reading it somewhere -- one of the local papers, maybe? It sounds like some of the mayor's writing, but that doesn't seem quite right. I also got a call from Douglas Williams encouraging me to put it online, and he had talked to someone in public works who verified the numbers at the beginning.

The main points seems to be that Summerland is large and expensive to service, and that these expenses are going to be huge in the next few years. The implication is that we'll need to improve the tax base to pay for it all, probably by developing ALR land that is relatively cheap to service, and likely by supporting more commercial development to share the tax load. At least that's my rough interpretation -- comments welcome:
"We Can't Afford All the Ambiance!

Summerland is currently in the process of rewriting its Official Community Plan. There has to be some changes. Let¹s compare Summerland and Penticton.
  • Summerland has 165 km of roads but maintains 320 km, 175 km of water lines, 70 km of sewer lines with a population of approximately 11,000.
  • Penticton has 232 km of roads, 206 km of water lines, 153 km of sewer lines with a population of approximately 33,000.
  • Summerland has a total area of 7,264 hectares with 2860.7 (39%) designated Agricultural Reserve.
  • Penticton has a total area of 4,447 hectares with 841 hectares (19%) designated Agricultural Reserve.
The economic profile for Summerland based upon revenue generated is as follows:
1. retail trade
2. health and service sector
3. construction industry
4. agriculture

What does this mean to the taxpayers of Summerland? All this adds up to a whopping tax increase. We have to continue to maintain and upgrade the infrastructure we already have and we have the following major projects to pay for.

1. Upgrading and improving the quality of our water
2. Upgrade Thirst Dam to bring the spillway up to the mandated safety standard and increase its storage capacity
3. Splitting the water system (Domestic and Irrigation)
4. Purchase and installing a centrifuge

Estimated costs of these projects $27 million. The corporation already has $7.6 million from a previous grant and will be applying for more. Even if the corporation is successful in obtaining more grants the projected increase in taxes will be between $240 - $300. Call it what you want, tax increase or a parcel tax, it is going to be very expensive living in Summerland from now on.

Some of this should have been done years ago but it was no more affordable then, than now. So why now? We have no choice. In order to meet the new standards for safe drinking water because of the Walkerton tragedy, we have to greatly improve our treatment standards and plant. All water will have some treatment but the cost would be prohibitive to treat all water and would be asinine to attempt to. The only alternative is to split the system but it will be costly.

Taxes will have to increase but it would be made more palatable if the tax increase was shared equitable by all the taxpayers of Summerland. Let¹s look at the tax base for Summerland. The Municipal Tax Revenue By Property Class in Summerland for 2003 was as follows according to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. The first figure represents the actual dollars paid by each class and the other figure represents the percentage of the total tax revenue that each property class contributed.

The total Municipal Taxes were $4,005,747.

Residential...$3,393,436 (84.7%)
Utilities.....$22,124 (0.6%)
Lt. Industry..$80,631 (2.0%)
Business......$437,974 (10.9%)
Recreation....$12,925 (0.3%)
Farm..........$58,657 (1.5%)

Next Spring when you admire the apple blossoms that last 10-12 days -- think about how much it is costing you."

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Welcome, Summerland Citizens

Thanks to the Summerland Review for publishing a letter about this site, as well as a solid editorial about the importance of getting involved in the OCP process and attending the public open house next week. It was also good to see that a group of concerned "Summerland Citizens" bought an ad in the paper with some key points about the second draft of the Official Community Plan -- although it wasn't us, those points really do seem to be the main topics of discussion: determining the rate of growth and protecting ALR land.

So, for those of you who are here for the first time, welcome. Have a look around, read why we started the site, and sign up for our newsletter if you want occasional updates. Feel free to post comments if find something you support or disagree with, and send us an e-mail with any ideas or writing you'd like posted on the site:

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Subscribe to the Newsletter

If you scroll down to the bottom of the right-hand sidebar of this page, you'll see a new section called "Keep in Touch". Just below that there's a place to enter your e-mail address to subscribe to the Summerland Citizens newsletter.

The main goal of the newsletter is to keep people up-to-date about new posts or comments on the site, and to emphasize any important events related to the future of Summerland. You can use it as a reminder to come back and check the site once in a while.

Your e-mail address will never be sold or used for any purpose other than receiving this newsletter. We'll aim for at least one newsletter a month, but if there's a lot going on, we'll send them once a week or so. Tell your friends!

Common Planning Fallacies #4

Tony's on tour with this series of posts! He's giving us some great stuff to bounce off of -- please feel free to post comments. Here's the fourth installment:
Fallacy #4: "Substantial growth is going to occur whether we like it or not, so we had better plan to accommodate it."

Tony's comment: "There will certainly be great pressure for growth, but the Community, not developers, should decide just how much or how little growth occurs. That is what an Official Community Plan is all about. If the Community simply accommodates demands for growth then the tail is wagging the dog.

To quote page 26 of draft 2 of the OCP, 'The management of growth can take many forms and may include such measures as limiting the amount of land available for development, prescribing the type of development that can occur, and the conditions under which development would be permitted."
Also see #1, #2 and #3.

The Faulder Experience

As a Faulder resident, I was fortunate to witness an interesting movement among my neighbours during the summer of the wildfires. I think it has similar themes to this issue.

As Kelowna was assaulted by fires and the trees around Faulder were as dry as anyone could remember, Summerland residents were informed that they were running out of water. Neighbours were suddenly watching out for those selfish beings around them who decided to water their lawns in the middle of the night. Washing one's car was a no-no, and paper plates were starting to look more and more appealing.

Odd it was that a town situated on a lake was dangerously close to running out of water. Not a week went by that the Summerland Review did not run a 'major' story on the looming water crisis. It was reported that pumping water from the lake was too expensive, so another "solution" was drafted - drill pumps at the rodeo grounds.

The call went out around Faulder that a meeting was urgently required, and all indications to me ( a new resident) were that our property values, and the very existance of Faulder, were at stake. At the hastily called meeting it was stated by a number of long-term residents that the aquifer that supplied Faulder with water was being tapped by Summerland at the rodeo site. Maps were drawn and more meeting dates established, all in the hopes that Faulder and Summerland could communicate and determine the size of the acquifer, how much water could be drawn from it, and a plan devised to make it a sustainable resource.

I did not attend the first meeting as I was out of town. At the second meeting there were, in my estimation, nearly 100 people in attendance. People were aggitated, motivated to take action, and a number of those in attendance were very informed as to Regional District mandates. The third meeting, a little later in the summer, saw perhaps 30 people in attendance. Since that time I have not been informed of any other meetings. I placed my name and email on a contact list, but to this day i have not heard from any of the organisers.

What happened? I think the answer is quite simple: it rained. That fall we had a fair bit of precipitation, the winter brought a heavy snow load, and the following summer was not nearly as dry.

I suppose I am writing this account as it was interesting to see a group so incredibly concerned and motivated, speaking about the very existance of their community being at stake, only to disipate as the weather changed.

Any discussion of communities at risk needs to have with it a mandate and specific goals. How do we keep 'regular citizens' involved and motivated when they are opposing people who have a lot of money to make. It seems to me that it will be difficult to match the corporate agenda with a community concern agenda - that is, if the Faulder experience, and my perceptoion of it, is any example.

Myron Dueck

Monday, February 14, 2005


This week's Summerland Review had three more letters opposed to the current OCP draft and plans for aggressive growth in Summerland's future. It makes me wonder if there's anyone out there who supports the kind of growth proposed by the second draft -- if they're out there, why aren't they writing in?

Catherine McDougall from the Darke Lake Watershed Protection Alliance raised some interesting questions about the potential for conflicts with First Nations land claims as well as concerns about water and infrastructure costs. Gordon Northcote's letter was articulated well -- I thought that this point was worth repeating:
The original group of stakeholders on the original committee were from a wide group of citizens. Although their recommendations may not have coincided with the high rate of growth the council appears to want, their plan allowed for a more reasonable rate of growth. In my opinion, they sensibly suggested that we put as much growth into infilling the present facilities (sewer, water, etc.) first before developing new areas that will require further expansion and thus more expense to taxpayers. Whatever developers say otherwise, new development almost invariably costs everyone more in the long run.
I've received a few e-mails along similar lines since word started getting out about this site, and it makes me very curious. If the stakeholder's committee was formed by council in the first place, why would they ignore (or drastically modify) the committee's recommendations for the most important parts of the OCP (ALR land and the rate of growth)? What instructions did they give the consultants after reviewing the first draft? These might be great questions to ask at the open house on the 22nd.

View from Above

If you've done any hiking on Cartwright Mountain, you probably recognize this rocky ridge which yields a great view of our little town. There's something nice about getting above a place to see how it fits together. Bill had a great idea a while back to do some pictures in Photoshop showing what the town might look like in 20 years based on the OCP. Hmm...

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Summerland Official Community Plan Draft 2

We've been concerned about the availability of the second draft of the OCP, wishing for an online version so we could take our time reading it without spending the $30 for a printed copy. Thanks to council for getting it up on their site today, along with the maps below:Lots to digest in there...more comments and quotes to come.

Common Planning Fallacies #3

A new installment of Tony Cooke's common planning fallacies series:
Fallacy #3: "Our Development Cost Charges are too high. They deter development and should be lower."

Tony's comment: "We’re not in a competition with other communities where the one with the most development wins. I believe Development Cost Charges are still too low. Shouldn’t D.C.C.’s be sufficient to cover all the infrastructure costs that are the result of development? For example, as Summerland grows we need to spend millions upgrading our water supply and millions more improving the road network. Money should be set aside from D.C.C.s to cover these costs. Instead, the Municipality borrows large sums of money and all taxpayers end up paying for the infrastructure upgrades. Shouldn’t developers pay for all the long term upgrades, direct and indirect, their developments make necessary?"
Also see #1 and #2.

Common Planning Fallacies #2

Another installment of Tony Cooke's common planning fallacies series:
Fallacy #2: "We need to grow to increase the tax base and keep property taxes down."

Tony's comment: "Growth doesn’t bring lower taxes, because huge infrastructure development is needed to support that growth. Surrey, Langley and Kelowna (for example) experienced enormous growth over the last 25 years yet their taxes are higher than ours. If growth means financial efficiency then why are our largest cities currently asking for massive financial support from the federal government?"
Also see #1 and #3.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Public Open House Part 2

We're getting the Penticton Herald this week for no apparent reason. Occasionally it has Summerland news, including this piece about the open house coming up on Feb.22 from 4pm to 9pm:
"Stations will be set up with panels to provide information on a variety of community issues, including:
  • Agriculture (agricultural plan, agricultural advisory committee).
  • Urban area boundaries.
  • Water infrastructure.
  • Lakeside commercial development.
  • Park upgrades (including Dale Meadows).
  • Official community plan -- progress update.
  • Residential development.
  • Institutional development (UBC, Dept. of Agriculture, Summerland University Foundation).
  • Potential gold course development.
  • Downtown densification projects such as Wharton Street.
Councillors, staff, consultants and other experts will be present to answer questions."

It sounds like a pretty ambitious slate, with a few potentially contentious issues. I'm sure it will be a great way the public to learn about what's going on, but I hope the councillors and experts will also take the opportunity to learn from the public. That's assuming that the public shows up.

Letter to Council

I recently wrote a letter to all the members of the council, in response to their unfortunate decision to hold the public open house AFTER making key decisions like extending the boundary for their golf course and authorizing themselves to borrow $7 million for infrastructure work:
Greetings Your Worship and Members of Council,

I noticed on the municipal web site that the deadline for opposition to your plans to authorize the borrowing of $7 million for water and sewer upgrades is the exact same moment (4:00pm) that the public open house begins on February 22nd.

For citizens to make informed decisions about initiatives they want to support or oppose, they need information. Giving citizens less than two weeks to learn enough about the plans for the water system and organize any cohesive response makes it look like council is hoping to avoid hearing from the public on this issue at all. Offering us the information at the open house moments after we've lost the right to influence the decision is an empty gesture.

I have one question and one suggestion. I would appreciate a timely response to both from any or all of you:

Question: Is a $6 million water system required if Summerland's population was to grow at a rate of one or two percent a year, or is it an attempt to meet the needs 30,000 residents by 2025?

Suggestion: Please consider moving the deadline for public feedback later, so that you can use the public open house to properly inform people. How about two weeks after the open house? Or better yet, wait until the community has finalized their direction for future growth in the official community plan. Then council gets to look good for solving water issues and listening to an informed electorate.

Monday, February 07, 2005

"Because I don't have it for reference"

This snippet from Tannis' most recent post finally pushed me to post a quick, frustrated note regarding accessibility to the OCP draft, and an overall concern with the process in general. Summerland boasts a robust municipal website, complete with all manner of downloadable documents (including, not insignificantly, the current OCP), yet the only way we can access the draft of the upcoming community plan is to either read a public copy at the library or municipal hall, or to BUY one for $30. Given that this entire process is presumably funded by your tax dollars and mine, this seems kind of steep, don't you think? It'd be cheaper to borrow it and photocopy it myself at a nickel a page (unless it's over 600 pages long...).

I approached one member of council by email over a month ago to ask whether there were plans to post an electronic version of this document and was told that indeed such a plan was in the works, and that once they had ironed out a technical issue that the document would be made available for download. I have no doubt that this response was sincere, and I'm hopeful that a free, downloadable copy of the OCP draft will see the light of day, but with only 15 days until the open house, I have to say time's getting tight. It's important that everyone who attends the meeting be as knowledgeable as possible about the matter at hand, no? Why wouldn't council want every citizen to have read the OCP draft from cover to cover? can answer that one for yourself. I might also suggest that unless the draft in question was typeset by cavemen, it must already be an electronic document; it's 2005 after all.

My point here is that the oft-trumpeted effort on council's part to make this process open and available sometimes feels like mere lip service. Last year there was a lengthy dialogue in the editorial pages between some folks who felt the OCP open houses were a sham and the mayor, who repeatedly assured everyone that the process was as open as possible and that every effort was being made to involve the community in the planning. Flash forward nearly a year, and the fact that a free, electronic version of the OCP draft has not yet been made accessible seems to fly in the face of these assurances. It's not lost on me either that many of the people who have neither the time nor the finances to access the OCP draft are those that will be most affected by the plans under discussion - young, working families with a long-term stake in Summerland's future.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

my soapbox

Since Jeremy was kind enough to lay bare his bias in the first post, I'd like to do the same. I've been learning about a planning and policy framework called The Natural Step and it's the kind of policy making that is as close to my vision of ideal as I've come across. It's a system that was pioneered in Sweden with the goal of making municipalities as self-reliant and environmentally sensitive as possible.

If we're working on a long range vision for our town, which it seems an Official Community Plan should, why not aim high? Towns like Whistler and Canmore have adopted this framework for making decisions that takes into account the environmental impact of all development, including utilities and services.

One thing I really appreciate about this approach is that it is very green but is not at odds with town growth or good business. Something like this could really help Summerland stand out from other Okanagan destinations. To see case examples of how the method has been used, check out a copy of the book The Natural Step for Communities: how cities and towns can change to sustainable practices, by James, Sarah, and Lahti, Torbjorn, which is available through the Okanagan Regional Library.

On a final note, wouldn't it be a relief to both council members and citizens at large to know that decisions were being made and measured by a few clear guiding principles, rather than on a case by case basis, depending on who makes it to meetings? It would take enormous effort to establish but it could become a platform for council and citizens to work together more effectively. If there is an agreed upon yardstick to compare each decision to then the heat is taken off of council to personally justify an unpopular move, they can discuss the way it relates to the principles. Citizens with concerns could take them to council and point out how they feel a particular issue violates the principles, rather than taking a more personal route of attack.

alternative suburbs

Here's an explanation of urban sprawl and it's associated transportation problems from the Smart Growth BC website mentioned in a previous post:

Sprawl is poorly planned development characterized by the conversion of natural or agricultural land to low-density residential suburbs, commercial centres, and business parks, all separated from one another by roads and parking lots. It means longer distances between homes and work or shopping and heavy reliance on roads and cars. The “convenience” store is now a five-minute drive away, not a five-minute walk.
Because of the low densities and scattered destinations, public transit is often inconvenient and infrequent and heavily subsidized. The over-reliance on cars is supported by huge government subsidies for road building. High investment in road infrastructure induces more car ownership increasing congestion and air pollution.

It seems unlikely to me that this is what most people in Summerland want, yet somehow it seems that we often close our eyes to the bigger picture when it's our next house at stake. The options seem to be dull boxy apartments/townhouses or bigger suburban houses, aside from the areas closer to downtown that have older bungalows. I like to think that many current and future residents would welcome alternatives along the lines of this "cottage style" development in Langley, WA. (background article on Langley WA). I'm certainly not advocating a new cottage style theme or trying to match the current Old English scene, rather it's the size and configuration that are unique and could inspire collaboration.

For those interested in building/zoning issues, here is a sample code that pertains to this development. I have no idea how it corresponds to our OCP because I don't have it for reference and don't have expertise in zoning. Does anyone know if there are any provisions for this type of development or who might be willing to take a risk in doing it?

Common Planning Fallacies #1

Tony Cooke was a member of Summerland's OCP stakeholders group, and he's been vocal in the community about his concerns with the direction of the 2nd draft of the OCP, especially in how it differs from the public input that has been collected so far. Tony has offered to contribute to this site, including a series of "common planning fallacies" with his comments. I think these ideas will be great for starting discussions on some key areas of future development -- your own comments are always welcome.

Fallacy #1: "Commercial development on the highway will bring people into the downtown. If we don't develop the highway the downtown will die"

Tony's Comment: "If that is the case, why is Kelowna's downtown in such a sad state? There has been a huge amount of highway development in Kelowna over the past 25 years, yet today Kelowna's downtown is nothing like as vibrant or as important to the city as it was in 1980. Professional offices and many other businesses have relocated to developments on the Highway 97 strip.
This downtown deterioration has occurred despite the uplifting benefit of the major lakeshore redevelopment immediately to the North."

Friday, February 04, 2005

Boundary Extension

The council passed the proposed municipal boundary extension for the new sprawling rural golf-course/residential development this week in a "special meeting". Apparently if there had been 650 names on an opposing petition, it could have been blocked and sent to referendum...but how would anyone have known about that? Council defended themselves by saying that there were two notifications posted in the local paper about the boundary extension, but there were no references in the notices to petition requirements. What about people who don't read the paper? I guess what they're saying is that it's up to individuals to seek out this information, which is true.

While I'm venting, isn't it odd that half the council seems to have to excuse themselves from most votes because of apparent conflicts of interest? It's interesting that the council is mostly made up of local businesspeople -- where are the teachers, working parents, farmers and concerned citizens who don't have a vested interest in tripling the population of the town? Have they not been running for office, or are they getting beaten in elections by pro-development candidates?