Association of Citizens for Summerland

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Association to join Smart Growth BC

On Wednesday the membership voted for the Association to become a member of Smart Growth BC. Director John Cuthbert is paving the way for our application, (is "paving the way" an acceptable Smart Growth term?) in consultation with Tom Lancaster and your Board.
The Association will benefit from a workshop led by Smart Growth BC staff. We hope to fix a date for this workshop very soon. It will most probably be on a Saturday.
Your Board proposes to invite Mayor Johnston, current and prospective Councillors, plus key municipal staff members to attend and participate - or if they prefer, to attend as observers. The Board and Smart Growth BC staff both feel it is important to make this workshop as inclusive as possible. With good will on all sides, true Smart Growth principles could be embedded in our OCP. Members, please post comments to let us know how you feel about this.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Public Works In Charge

submitted by Caroline:


The light is shinning with a clear brilliance from Summerland’s Municipal Hall this morning. I personally had to don my sunglasses before I could continue reading the article. I popped open the Penticton Western Newspaper dated Aug. 26, 2005 and there was the story on page A5. What a brilliant move by our current council!
The part of the story that I believe to be the most brilliant move by this group was to give power to the Superintendent of Public Works. The Superintendent of Public Works is now the Approving Officer. This move by council screams with practicality and I can only compliment the group of 7 on this wonderful decision.
If a tax paying citizen of Summerland took the time to review the adopted minutes along with the Very Hot Attachments you would find that the head man of public works along with his senior people are bringing a clean message on a continual basis to the meetings that they attend.
Infrastructure: The basic facilities, services and installations needed for the functioning of a community. Don’t rush! These services that we take for granted need to be planned, give us the time. These experienced people from public works bring such basics as water and hydro to our home. Without them we would all be dry camping! Let practicality rule! What a great move by the powerful group of 7.


Friday, August 26, 2005

Penticton Herald Reporting

The Friday, August 26th edition of the Herald has an article on Mr. Parliament which reveals a little more on the situation. Here is Top Man Axed.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

CAO No Longer

The District of Summerland has issued a press release stating our CAO is no longer employed in that capacity. I am sure more details will follow. With our long-time planner currently on leave, the Mayor no longer seeking re-election, and now the CAO gone, I wonder what is going on down at Municipal Hall. At the very least, we can hope the pace of some development plans slow down substantially.

Mayor Leaves Politics

Mayor Tom Johnston will not be seeking re-election, as reported in the Penticton Herald. I wonder who will run for the Mayor's position? They will have their work cut out for them!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Another Reminder! Meeting Tonight!

Join us August 24th

The Association Meeting is tonight, Wednesday 24th August, 7:30 pm at Centre Stage Theatre. Guest speaker is Tom Lancaster, an expert on Smart Growth. Tom is the Community Assistance Program Coordinator for SmartGrowthBC, travelling from the lower mainland especially for this presentation.
Also on the agenda will be a discussion of Association Strategy for the next 12 weeks, leading up to the Municipal Elections.
Please attend if you can. Help your Board make important decisions for the Association!

See you there!!!


Monday, August 22, 2005

Two Recent Newspaper Articles

Two Newspaper Articles worth reading.

Kelowna Courier story featuring Mayor Tom Johnston and his new business venture into real estate.

Penticton Western News story featuring Robin Agur's other housing development proposal in Naramata on the old Blackwell property.

ACS Minutes Available for Viewing

If you would like to see what we've been up to over the last month, check out the minutes from our last two meetings. There has been a lot to keep up with.

ACS July Public Meeting

ACS August 11 Board Meeting

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Great Guest Speaker at Next Meeting

Our next meeting is on Wednesday 24th August, 7:30 pm at Centre Stage Theatre. Guest speaker is Tom Lancaster, an expert on smart growth. Tom is the Community Assistance Program Coordinator for SmartGrowthBC and travels over from the lower mainland especially for this presentation.
Also on the program will be a discussion of Association strategy for the next 12 weeks, leading up to the Municipal Elections.
Please attend if you can. Help your Board make important decisions for the Association!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Parks And Rec Commission Wants Public Input at Meeting

The Commission members have confirmed that they want input from the public at Thursday's meeting to discuss the Little Giants Head land swap. Apparently several people in favour of this development will be attending. If you oppose this deal, attend the meeting and say your piece

Monday, August 15, 2005


The Corporation of the District of Summerland’s Parks and Recreation Commission will convene for a meeting to be held in the Council Chambers at 7-00 pm on Thursday, August the 18th, 2005. The Parks and Recreation Commission meetings are open for public attendance.




THURSDAY, AUGUST 18, 2005 AT 7:00 PM

1. Minutes and Adoption

Regular meeting of the Parks and Recreation Commission – June 14, 2005

2. Business arising from the minutes

3. New Business

Council resolution – August 8th, 2005

THAT the proposed land exchange agreement with LGH Ventures Ltd.
be referred to the Parks and Recreation Commission for comment.

4. Other

5. Next Meeting

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Smart Growth in Summerland?

Maybe some of you have noticed that certain people are starting to throw the "Smart Growth" catch phrase around to validate their large scale development plans. It certainly is good timing that we have Tom Lancaster, Community Assistance Program Coordinator for Smart Growth BC scheduled to speak at our next Association Meeting, Centre Stage Theatre, August 24th at 7:30. From their website, "Smart, sustainable growth is development that enhances our quality of life, protects our environment, and uses tax revenues wisely. Smart Growth communities respect, maintain, and restore the natural functioning of the landscape. Our communities can be more environmentally friendly, energy efficient, and cost effective, by respecting natural ecosystems - particularly agricultural land and stream systems". Smart Growth BC has taken a clear position on the ALR. This organization "supports the preservation and protection of our Agricultural Land Reserve as a means to contain urban growth and maintain a productive, secure and economically viable agricultural land base in BC".

Do you think the proposed golf course development, using ALR land, represents Smart Growth? Do you think transforming unique and precious parkland into housing represents Smart Growth? Check out the Sprawl Fact Sheet on the Smart Growth website, and be sure to join us at our next Association Meeting. I do hope Mayor and Council will accept the invitation as well.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Members comment on Proposed Park Land Swap

Aug.8, 05, 7 p.m. Council Meeting

A well orchestrated event took place last night in the chambers of the Municipal Hall. Some of us were there to experience what looks like democracy in action.

Following is my (Caroline) take on it. I would suggest very strongly that anyone who really wants to “save the park” should not sit back and think they have been successful as of last night.

Our elected members of council have left the barn door wide open.
This matter has been sent the Parks and Recreation Commission for their recommendation.

I feel we will need to be very astute citizens and aware of each and every meeting. Peter Cluff, Director of Parks, has offered to assist. He has sent over the Terms of Reference along with commissioners names. If it is beginning to look simple, like someone else will be there to protect you, forget it. For a democracy to work you need to participate, if you don’t, you will lose your rights! Laugh if you will, you will get bit right in your rump by the doers who do want this land out for housing.

Word like Terms of Reference have a giant impact! As per the AAC Terms of Reference which ended with a local well known orchardist being FIRED FOR BEING A VOLUNTEER, which then led to another well respected orchardtist and agrologist leaving. What was the result and outcome of some of these actions: 380 ALR acres go to the ALC with full support from council. Be sure to pay attention to the Park, you are the guards!

The area in question is zoned Park Land, NOT DEDICATED PARK LAND as per the Mayor’s words of last night.

Now a little hazy history.
Check it out and confirm. Here goes. About 10 years ago the sewer line came to a stop. Council and staff of the day made a promise to sewer Glenfir School.

Very recently there was a reverse referendum about the advancement of sewer in the area. Now you are really getting it! That’s right, long range plans to sewer the park? Hidden and buried all these years. 100 acres of almost park land, or is it residential reserve lands to be sold by your council members, sure looks that way. The attack was quick.


Monday, August 08, 2005

ALC Again Asked For Public Hearing

The following letter was sent to the ALC by your Board.

Dear Chairman, Commissioners and Staff Members,

Re: Request for Public Hearing, ALR exclusion applications, Summerland

We understand that Mayor Johnston has requested an unscheduled August Board Meeting re: ALR exclusion applications from Summerland Council. We fiercely oppose this request for a rushed decision. Please allow time and provide a forum for input from the general public in Summerland.
We reiterate our previous requests for a public meeting. The Association has conducted considerable research over the past months into the land known as "Area 11", located in NW Prairie Valley. Our research shows that the reasons given to the ALC over the years to support exclusion of this large parcel from the ALR are not valid.
This is not poor agricultural land. The land has excellent agricultural potential. Extensive research by our agrologists (plus test holes recently dug by Paul Christie) disprove previous assumptions of poor potential. Lack of water was once the controlling issue (it is above the old flume lines). Recent investigation indicates that a substantial amount of water is available in an aquifer.
The land is not needed for growth. Council’s OCP Draft 2 shows that there is enough land for at least 30 years of growth without using any ALR land at all
The release of land from the ALR in Summerland is unnecessary and would be detrimental to the future of Summerland. Please schedule a public hearing so that you can receive all of the information the Association and others have gathered, and allow us to fully express our concerns.
Yours Truly

MLA Not Receiving Input On ALR Removal Applications

During our meeting this morning, MLA Rick Thorpe said that his office has not received complaints from the general public about the applications made by Council to remove large blocks of land from the ALR for development purposes. Understandably he therefore disputed our claim that a large percentage of the voters in Summerland oppose these applications.
It might appear to regular members that the Board can be relied upon to fully represent them. Not so, the Board can only do so much. Please help by taking the following actions:
  1. Drop in to Rick's office and to City Hall and let them know how you feel about the ALR applications and the golf course development approval process.
  2. Write to your MLA and to City Hall.
  3. Write to the Agricultural Land Commission.
  4. Write a letter to your favourite newspaper.
  5. E mail or, better still, speak directly to a Councillor.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Council Refuses Referendum Request

Council has refused the Association's request for a referendum on the proposed golf resort. Mayor Johnston's reasons, in brief, are:
1. A referendum "would be non binding" and "Council could ignore the result of any referendum".
2. "The proposed development is designated a future growth area as per the current Official Community Plan"
3. The proposed development "is consistent with smart growth principles"

Friday, August 05, 2005

So Who's Been Spammed?

I was just wondering how many other unsuspecting Summerland residents have been called by the Summerland Hills Golf Resort's automated caller. There was a lovely little recorded message left on my answering machine yesterday, directing me to the "Hills" development web-site, and urging me to offer input into the development plans... And the young lady's voice was so chipper! This type of mass automated dial out must cost a lot of money. Aiy-yia-yai. Why am I feeling a little out of my league?

Thursday, August 04, 2005

The "Bush" Syndrome

Summerland Council seems to be suffering from the George Bush syndrome on the Summerland Hills Project. You are either with us or against us. Anyone who asks an intelligent question is labeled a malcontent and not representative of the silent majority. However, individuals asking questions are a basic form of public input.
One question is why good agricultural land in the area of Prairie Valley was designated marginal and then given away untendered to the developer. This land was not used simply because it was never supplied with water. The boundaries of agricultural land in Summerland were established nearly a hundred years ago by the constraints of a gravity water system, marked by the ‘flume line’. Since that time improved technology has been employed to provide water to dry areas such as the Summerland Golf and Country Club. Six acres of my orchard lies above the old flume line. So why not be up front about this issue and say we have good agricultural land which we are not prepared to supply with water …………… we are giving it to a private developer?
What is of real concern is the process. The project is being fast-tracked far ahead of the time lines normal for a project of this size. Too much reliance is being put on the opinions of consultants hired by the developer. Many in the agricultural community are concerned that the process will set a precedent to be used the next time somebody wants land out of the agricultural base for housing development. Is it a reserve for agriculture or a reserve for development?
Sincerely, Denise MacDonald
Concerned citizen/farmer

Summerland, The Okanagan's Best Kept Secret

A snappy little advertising slogan to describe our town and now it could well apply to the actions of our Council in the disposing of land owned by the Municipality on Little Giant’s Head Mountain. For those of you who have walked and hiked this little gem, this is a wake-up call to action.

Council proposes to trade 18.2 hectares of reasonably flat land in return for 14.2 hectares of much more undulating land with rocky outcrops, some trail work, two covered picnic tables, a parking area, signage and an interpretive centre from the developer – such a deal, but for whom?
Do we really need an interpretive centre and who is going to staff it? If the Council really feels the need for this work to be done, surely it would be better to wait until the development is complete and then use the roads put in by the developer and have City employees do the work (perhaps a good summer work programme for the young people home from university or college). Better yet, leave the land as it is!

This is yet another attempt by our Council to slide something by in the doldrums of summer when citizens are busy with orchard work, gardening, those summer visitors and, of course, summer holidays. The other concern I had was that the local name for this area, Little Giant’s Head Mountain, was not mentioned in the Notice of Intention and had it not been for a letter to the editor by Mr. Grey, I too might have missed this notice.

The proposed land disposal will be discussed at the regular meeting of Council on August 8, 2005 and it may well be the only time we will get to debate this matter. It is imperative that you act now – plan to attend this meeting and voice your preferences, either for or against. If you are unable to attend on that evening but want your voice heard, submit your thoughts and ideas in writing to City Hall BEFORE August 4th.

Yours truly,

Jean Fishenden.