Association of Citizens for Summerland

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Golder Report on Groundwater

The Association has several copies of the November 2003 Golder Report on Groundwater Development in the Meadow Valley Aquifer. A comment from the audience at the June 23rd meeting referred to this report and the very cautious language used to describe future development of this aquifer.

In this report, the proposed Golf Course Development is considered, while aware of the limited information available on the Course, and more specifically, the possible water demand and associated residential development.

The report states: "The net water balance calculations for Meadow Valley completed in Section 7.2 which do not account for the golf course development, indicate annual withdrawals by the District of Summerland (from the emergency wells) and the Faulder Area Residents could potentially be as much as 50 percent of the annual recharge to the Meadow Valley System. Additional development of the aquifer, including pumping from the wells completed for the proposed golf course, should only be undertaken with more detailed studies to more accurately determine long-term impacts from increased withdrawals."

Conclusions found in the report:
"Based on the results of the current drilling program and information on the Faulder Community Well, it is apparent that the District of Summerland wells and the Faulder Community Well are completed in the same aquifer."

Recommendations found in the report:
"Further development of the aquifer should not be undertaken without more detailed hydrogeological studies."

"It is imperative that the current stakeholders of the aquifer monitor the existing groundwater consumption and development activities in order to limit potential overuse, or mining, of the groundwater resource in the area."

Clearly water is an issue. This is a 30 page report and a copy can be viewed or obtained by contacting me.


Monday, June 27, 2005

Parks and Trails Aquisition Plan

Some of you may have seen my post regarding the Report to Council from the Acting Director of Parks, recommending that Brandenburg be approached to give $10000 towards this Parks and Trails Aquisition Plan, along with my snide "counting your chickens before they are hatched" comment. Mr. Parliament has told us that the report I was quoting from was only a draft report, inadvertantly given to us, and later amended by himself, to remove any reference to specific developers, pending the completion of the Neighbourhood Plan process. Brandenburg has NOT been approached regarding this matter. I have removed the original post, in view of the fact that the quoted draft report never made it to council, and was not considered.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Alternatives to Growth

Here's an excellent site. Lots of good stuff. Kelowna folk should read the Boulder City case study!

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Carmel Valley Master Plan

Want to see a plan which is radically different from our draft OCP? Many of the same problems but a very different philosophy.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Meeting a Great Success, Thanks to The Membership

Thanks to all those members who turned out for our evening meeting on 23rd June, and thanks to Evan Parliament and Mayor Johnson for speaking and for taking questions from the floor. Approximately 150 people attended. Good questions!
At a rough guess, 30 or more people joined the Association this evening. The membership committee will easily exceed its goal of reaching 200 members by mid July. Next target 300?
Minutes of meeting to follow soon.

Was the meeting worthwhile? Do you feel we accomplished something? We know the meeting was too long, but other than that did you like the format with little business, guest speakers, and questions from the floor? Please comment on line so we know if we are meeting your needs. High profile speaker next month, David Sands from Abbotsford on the ALR.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

ALR Exclusion Application - Paul Christie Report

At the evening Council meeting on 13th June much was made by Councillors of a "report" by Paul Christie, P. Ag. The "report" is a one page letter, and says four things:
The parcel is part of the Summerland ALR
The ALC has agreed to consider the exclusion of this parcel from the ALR
The parcel is a strongly sloping treed hillside with low agricultural capability (personally I would describe it as some parts steep, large parts gently sloping and some parts almost flat).
He supports excluding this parcel to help alleviate pressure on other ALR land

I spoke with Paul Christie today - a decent, straightforward guy. He confirmed that:

  1. He was on the bus tour with Staff, Council and the ALC several weeks ago. They stopped to look up at Parcel 11 but did not drive onto the property.
  2. He has never set foot on the property.
  3. No test holes have been dug by his company. No soils tests or percolation tests have been done by his company.
  4. He has not been hired by the Municipality to do any other work.

No further comment needed by me - but I would like to read yours!

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Public Meeting Set!

Association of Citizens for Summerland

“Preserving Summerland’s Unique Character”

170+ members and growing fast!

Next Meeting:

Thursday June 23rd, 7:30, at the Centre Stage Theatre.

1. Business (15 minutes maximum).

2. 20 minute presentation by Evan Parliament on water issues, followed by questions from the floor.

3. 15 minute presentation by Mayor Johnson regarding his position on growth, water and the ALR, followed by questions from the floor.
Members and Public Invited!

Friday, June 17, 2005

Mayor to Speak and answer Questions at Association Meeting, 23rd June Centre Stage Theatre, 7:30 pm.

Mayor Johnson was yesterday asked to speak to the Association and explain his position on growth, the ALR and the water issue. He verbally agreed to do so. Bring your questions.
Also on the agenda - Evan Parliament will speak on the water situation and will also answer questions. Bring your questions.
Full agenda to be posted soon. It will include 15 minutes of business at most.
Everyone invited, members and the public. Association members will have priority should numbers exceed the capacity of the Theatre. Expect a large contingent from SCEDT. Invite your friends and neighbours. 280 seats. Let's fill them.

SCEDT (Chamber of Commerce) Mobilizes to Support Crown Land Deposition

This is the e mail that SCEDT circulated to every member.

Dear SCEDT Members,
The SCEDT Board of Directors is fully in support of this application for disposition of Crown Land. As representatives of the business community we ask that you send an e-mail by the deadline of June 18th, to Drew Frymire ( expressing your views on this subject.
Please quote Land file #3410376.

Needless to say this is exactly opposite to the position the Association takes.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

I'm Incensed!!!!

As you probably know by now, on June 13th Council voted UNANIMOUSLY to forward the ALR exclusion application of the West Prairie Valley parcels to the ALC with their SUPPORT. This, despite the Agricultural Advisory Committe (of council's own creation) recommending to defer this decision for 60 days. I guess I was naive, but this decision shocked me. I think this decision should send a clear picture that this Council has an agenda, to lay the ground work for the Golf Course and Residential Metropolis, before the Novemeber elections. Here is a brief overview of some of what the Association did leading up to this Council meeting:

Tony Cooke acting as spokesman for our Association, addressed Council at the meeting this morning (13th June). His presentation lasted about 15 min, and was passionate, clear, and concise.
Tony posed the question to Council “why do you think the Association is growing so fast?” His answer “because many citizens are angry about the OCP and its implications for rapid growth and the loss of agricultural land.
He said that Summerlanders chose to live in a small town, and want to preserve that special small town feeling. Concerns addressed included the strong influence of the chamber of commerce, water issues, and pressure for rapid growth.
Tony made three requests of Council:
1. Do not apply for removal from the ALR of 382 acres of land in NW Prairie Valley

2. Scale back the amount of development in the OCP to the same amount as in the past 20 years – 1500 additional homes. This should be the upper limit.

3. Instruct staff to study communities throughout the world that have successfully limited growth, and apply those success stories to our OCP.

I wrote a letter to council outlining the public input they have received so far, much of it commissioned by themselves, and imploring them to LISTEN to that input:

Mr. Mayor and Council,

I am asking you to defer your decision on the 154-acre ALR exclusion application for 60 days, to await the recommendation of the AAC and gather more community input. If you vote today to forward this application with support, you will be disregarding the vast amount of public input already submitted.

1. Your first OCP questionnaire showed 62% of respondents felt "preserving existing agricultural lands" was either very important or important. Also 72% of respondents felt "preserving the rural flavour of Summerland” was either very important or important.

2. The OCP Stakeholder Group, a broad cross section of the community, unanimously carried the statement that “preserving the agricultural and rural flavour of Summerland is important".
3. The February 2005 Open House Survey saw comments written by 174 attendees. Of those:
64 residents had water concerns
51 people advised they want slow growth.
29 were opposed or concerned about the Golf Course.
28 people want land left alone in the ALR
18 would like to see a focus on infill
18 people stated they want Council to listen to the people who elected them and not the developers
4. Our concerned citizen group commissioned it's own survey, finding 44% of respondents want our OCP to continue to protect all ALR land.
5. Council has received over 40 individual letters of opposition to the exclusion of this 154-acre parcel from the ALR.

6. The AAC has voted to defer this decision for 60 days to seek more detailed information regarding the agricultural viability of this parcel and gather further community input.

There is a ground swell of opposition to ALR exclusions in Summerland and to the underlying issue of rapid growth. Opposition is mounting against the sprawling destination golf course and residential development planned for West Prairie Valley.

If you, Mr. Mayor, and Council vote to forward this application with support today, it will be clear that you wish to avoid growing community involvement in this process. Do not ignore the input already gathered. Listen to the residents of Summerland.

Apparently none of this matters to current Council. We now need to focus on the ALC.

Monday, June 13, 2005

I'm Inspired!

The field trip covering the 154 hectares of ALR land in West Prairie Valley on the week-end turned out to be a successful event. About 30 people took part, and it was a great way to get some exercise, meet some new people, and explore this piece of land first hand. For me, it only solidified why I think this land needs to be preserved in the ALR. I took part in the longer walk of the two, hiking right from the far west edge, over to the eastern edge, where it lies adjacent to Deer Ridge. This land is beautiful! There are many flat benches and rolling terraces, healthy trees and lots of flowers, birds singing; and the sun shines down on this south facing slope. Just add some irrigation and I could imagine some beautiful vineyards up there. Or, leave it alone and protect it as parkland, as the easy hiking trails are great for the whole family! Right now, as Crown and Municipal land, we all have the opportunity to enjoy this land. Quick access to mountain biking trails, or a liesurely walk with your dog, it's great to have this in our back-yard. Anyway, after some wonderful conversations with fellow concerned Summerland residents, and an enjoyable forest walk, I am more inspired than ever to protect this land as ALR. Whether it is developed for agricultural use in the future, or simply preserved as a green belt around our community, it needs to be kept in the ALR.

Council will vote TONIGHT (June 13th, 7:30 pm) on whether to defer their recommendation for 60 days or forward this application with support, to the ALC. This is a public meeting, Council Chambers, Municipal Hall.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Association Presentation at Council Meeting, 13th June 9:15 a.m.

The Association will present it's position on the future of Summerland, growth, water and the ALR at the morning Council meeting, 13th June.
At the evening 13th June meeting Council may vote on the proposed exclusion of 382 acres from the ALR for residential and golf course development.
Please support your Association by attending one of the meetings. It may take a while for Council to appreciate the strength of our Association and start taking us seriously. A large turn-out will accelerate that process.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Anyone up for a hike?!

We have organized a field trip onto the ALR/Crown lands that are being proposed for exclusion in west Prairie Valley. I think this is a fabulous idea and hopefully we will have a large turnout. I think all of us should cover this land with our own two feet and experience first hand what we stand to lose to a massive, (over 300 hectares), sprawling development. What is the ground like? What is the wildlife like? And exactly HOW BIG is 300 hectares? After all, right now this area is Municipal and Crown Land, which we all share ownership in. What vision do we have for this area? We should know what it is we are talking about, and what better way than a good, long walk in the woods!

We will be meeting at the gravel pit at the "y" just before the landfill, Sunday June 12th, at 2:00pm for this excursion. Tony has offered to study the coordinates of the property lines and guide us with a little GPS technology. We will attempt to walk along part of the boundary of the 157 hectare ALR parcel. So throw on your hiking boots and pack your water bottle. Who's up for a hike!?!

Comment if you are interested. Suggestions Welcome!

Thirsk Dam Expansion Loan

The Municipality intends to borrow $6,000,000 to increase storage at Thirsk dam. It will be paid for by a tax of $125 per parcel per year for 20 years. Why must everyone pay? We have enough storage for the present population. Why should Summerland old timers on pensions pay one nickel for increased water storage which is only needed to service new homes?
New homes will create the need for additional water, so shouldn't they pay for the dam work through appropriately calculated Development Cost Charges?

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Letter regarding our Water issues

The following is a superb letter written by Lorraine Bennest. It clearly outlines Summerland's current water situation and how it relates to new development potential. She will be sending this letter to:
Hon. George Abbott Minister of Sustainable Resource Development, PO Box 9054
Hon. Bill Barisoff Minister of Land, Water and Air Protection, PO Box 9047
Hon. Rick Thorpe Minister of Provincial Revenue, PO Box 9065
Hon. John van Dongen Minister ofAgriculture,POBox9058, Stn. Prov. Government, Victoria, V8W 9E2

I think it should also be forwarded to Drew Frymire at Land and Water BC.

Dear Ministers

As a fruit grower in an arid valley I have long recognized the connection between land and water. With the Water Use Plan (Fish Flow Agreement) Summerland’s water supply is fully allocated and users face a 30% potential shortfall that corresponds to 2800 acre feet. The Thirsk Dam upgrade of 2500 acre feet is allocated first to further increases in fish flow and then to replacing lost allocations to current users. New developments since the 2003 water crises have already added 183 acre feet of use.

It is not possible to allocate water from Summerland’s system for further development. The current housing and golf course proposal is estimated to use 800 acre feet.

If we assume that this crown land development will be adequately supplied from groundwater now and in the future we ignore some very important points:
1. The Faulder aquifer is part of Summerland’s water system and may prove useful in overcoming the current 30% potential shortfall.
2. Aquifers have been known to fail – Min of Agriculture staff are warning agriculture groups in the valley that ground water sources are declining
3. Concerns are being raised that the Okanagan Basin may be fully allocated
4. First Nations Lands have not yet been factored into water use calculations in the valley
5. Groundwater is not currently regulated. The government is working on establishing regulations. Preliminary indications are that these licenses will be time limited due to the recognized need for studies on the equilibrium of groundwater. For instance the Faulder Aquifer is not well understood – professionals guess that 50% of its recharge capacity is allocated between Faulder and Summerland – does that mean that if we actually use that capacity it is guaranteed to be replaced? If so where does that capacity bubble out now and who will we be taking it away from?
6. If this aquifer fails, what demands will transfer to Summerland’s surface water system?

The Okanagan Partnership has ‘sustainable prosperity’ as its goal. So do I. We need to delay judgment on this proposal to make sure it qualifies as sustainable. In the absence of groundwater legislation we have no tools to properly address the aquifer issues.

Less than 5% of the provinces land base is arable – it is only arable in the Okanagan if it has irrigation water.

Please hold off on Crown Land application 3410376 until ground water legislation is available to provide long term protection for all water users.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

June 2nd...Be down at Municipal Hall!!!

Agricultural Advisory Committee Meeting, Thursday June 2nd at 1:00pm, at Municipal Hall.

The ALR Exclusion Application for 154 hectares, in West Prairie Valley, intended use, part of the proposed Golf Course and Residential Development, is on the agenda for this meeting. This particular group of parcels had originally been referred to as Area 11 in the OCP drafts. It was often referred to as being 57 hectares; however, as it turns out, the full area is actually close to three times that size. The AAC will possibly give a recommendation on this parcel at this meeting. We will be anxiously awaiting that recommendation.

Tony Cooke, Association President, will ask to give a statement to the committee, on behalf of the Association, supporting the preservation of ALR lands, and opposing the future use of this land as part of a large scale residential development.

Please attend this meeting to lend support and create a stronger showing for the Association. A large turn-out to this meeting will be more effective!!!!!!!! I will certainly be posting what transpires at this meeting!

May 25th Committee Action Plans

Two Month Action Plan for Publicity Committee

Director: John Cuthbert,
Target Audience: Summerland voters

1. Write Article for the Review: Suzanne to write and John to ensure it gets in the Review.
2. Invite John Arendt, Review editor, to our next meeting.
3. Arrange radio interview for Tony on local station.
4. Need a logo that can be put on bumper sticker. Executive to determine.
5. Bumper sticker with logo: Mark to do.
6. Poster for bulletin boards: Suzanne to do.
7. Open house party to promote association and sign up new members.
8. Press releases to be issued before our meeting for the Review, Penticton Herald, the Western, and local radio.

Two Month Action Plan for Fundraising Committee

Chair- Frank Martens,

1. Find out more about registration for a non-profit organization
2. Make an application for registration (providing executive does not object).
3. Connect with S.P.A.D.E. to get info on registration and fund sources.
4. Have a 50/50 draw at the next meeting on June 23rd.
5. Obtain a couple of bottles of wine and have a raffle at the same meeting.

Two Month Action Plan for Communications Committee

Director: Amie Harbor,

1. Development and distributioon of a newsletter.
2. Encouragement of more active postings and comments to the blog site.
3. Creation of a phoning network
4. Regular posters put on community bulletin boards
5. Creation of a mailing list for those without e-mail, and a committee to facilitate.
6. To initiate liason with other similar organizations in the valley and province
7. Ensure our organization is listed in the "What's Up" and "Coming Events" columns of the Review.

Two Month Action Plan for Membership Committee

Director: Jim Fishenden,

1. To bring our membership to 200.
2. Be outside the Liquour Store, June 3rd, 2pm-6pm.
3. Try to be invited to different service clubs, to give a brief talk and hand our brochures.
4. Continue to distribute our brochures any way possible.
5. Set up again outside the IGA later in the month.

Two Month Action Plan for Research Committee

Director: Jim Hunt,

To Organize and Encourage research on the following topics:

1. Water in Summerland
2. OCP: timetable, how current drafts differ from existing, how to improve the next draft
3. ALR exclusions: areas up for exclusion within the OCP draft
4. Industrial sites, where,
5. Special wildlife habitats
6. Smart Growth principles and how they can be applied to Summerland.