Association of Citizens for Summerland

Friday, September 30, 2005

ALC Public Information Meeting, Change of Venue

The Public Information Meeting to be held by the ALC will now be held at Centre Stage Theatre. This change was made to ensure that there is room for all who wish to attend.
So, date and time:

Centre Stage Theatre
9518 Main Street Summerland
Wednesday October 12th, 7:00pm

Please attend to voice your opinion on the ALR exclusion application, West Prairie Valley, intended use, Summerland Hills Golf and Residential Resort.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

ALC to Hold Public Information Session

Thank-you to all who have written to the ALC with concerns regarding the exclusion application in West Prairie Valley. The ALC has responded. This notice was received yesterday afternoon.

Dear all,Thank you for your interest in the above-noted application. As was noted at the exclusion meeting of September 23, 2005, the Commission has several options open to it to gather information on the application. The Commission has decided to hold a public information meeting from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.onWednesday, October 12, 2005 in the Municipal Hall Council Chambers,located at 13211 Henry Avenue, Summerland, BC. All interested parties are welcome to participate. An official notice will be included in the October 2 edition of theSummerland Bulletin and the October 6 edition of the Summerland Review.

As I understand it, the public will be allowed to give verbal presentations to the commissioners. It appears they are seeking further input into this important decision, and this is good news!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Smart Growth Workshops Being Discussed

The Guiding Principles of SmartGrowth are:

1. Protect Wildlife habitat, green space and farm lands
2. Build compact, mixed- use neighbourhoods
3. Work within natural systems
4. Employ environmentally-relevant design
5. Provide a variety of transportation choices
6. Create diverse affordable housing options
7. Connect jobs to homes
8. Embrace community identity
9. Nurture engaged citizenship

Tom Lancaster has advised us on two workshop possibilities.

1. A voter education workshop is held. All candidates for council are invited. There would a presentation on Smart Growth principles. The audience would then submit written questions for the candidates which would be asked to each candidate. The questions would be vetted to avoid over lapping or repeat questions. After which there would be a discussion on the candidates positions and how they would apply the smart growth principles to Summerland. This proposal would not involve breaking into workshop groups and Center Stage theater would be suitable.

2. Groups of 6 to 8 people are formed which meet in people's homes, cafes orother locations to discuss a preset list of questions. The questions would be linked to smart growth principles as in the following examples -

Smart growth includes ALL 9 of the principles listed, but every communityhas several that are most relevant to their local context.What are the three most relevant principles to Summerland?
How would these three principles change planning/decision-making inSummerland?
What are the three most important issues that Summerland is facing?
How do you see smart growth being relevant to Summerland planning processes?
Do you see smart growth in Summerland requiring more regional planning?
How would smart growth in this community affect you individually(positively,negatively)?

Tom and others would travel around the groups to help with the discussions and there would be background material on the principles to assist the discussion. The results of the discussion groups would be compiled and a meeting scheduled to develop concensus and report back to the community. The concluding meeting would require Center Stage theatre.
Alternatively, if we could find a venue that would accomodate many small breakout groups, we could do it all in 1/2 a day .

These ideas will be discussed at our Sept. 19th board meeting.

Workshops have or will be held in the following comunities; White Rock, Mission, West Vancouver, Smithers, Prince Rupert, Comox,Abbottford, Creston, Kaslo, and RDof Shuswap.Mayors and Councils are involved in most of them.

Give us your thoughts.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Board Elections for Association

Wednesday, September 21st, 7:30, Association of Citizens for Summerland Public Meeting, being held at Centre Stage. Our speaker will be Lisa Scott, a local biologist, discussing the Protection and Recovery of Species at risk in Summerland, and the impacts of development on the environment. We will also be holding our first Board Elections. The current directors were serving on an interim basis and we hope many of them will consider running for a full year term. We also hope others will volunteer to serve on this board. Review our Draft Constitution. Your participation would be greatly appreciated. The offices on the board for the Association of Citizens for Summerland are as follows:
  • Chair
  • Vice-Chair
  • Treasurer
  • Secretary
  • Director of Communications
  • Director of Publicity
  • Director of Research
  • Assistant - Research
  • Director of Membership
  • Director of Fundraising
  • Director of Elections, Board/Municipal
  • Director of Council Meeting Committee

Friday, September 16, 2005

This is YOUR blog!

Because I have been making some pretty strong statements lately, I want to remind Association members and visitors to this blog that I am not trying to represent the entire membership or even the Board of the Association of Citizens. I am the 'acting' administrator of this blog, but my posts and comments are strictly my own (and I'll stand behind them!)

This blog is a gathering place for information and ideas. If you have something to say, say it! Comment on existing posts, or if you would like to post something directly, e-mail me and I'll get it up there. I'm not in the business of editing or deleting, unless something is truly inappropriate.
As for the "Anonymous" nature of a lot of recent comments, and some very nasty ones, this blog no longer accepts "Anonymous". I don't mind debating the issues, but I wonder why some aren't willing to put a name to their opinions.

So, I encourage you to speak your mind. Let's discuss the issues. And remember, I don't want this to be MY blog, it's yours. I just seem to be the most prolific writer at the moment!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

A recent Anonymous comment (Sept. 9) posed the question, "Shouldn't we assume that our local golf courses ARE as important as orchards in that they offer similar [if not greater] numbers of full & part-time employment? In addition, significant tourist dollars are spent throughout Summerland during the short golf season". I am glad to answer and debate, I only wish I knew who I was debating with.
I don't think anyone should assume that golf courses are as important as orchards and farms. Never mind the philosophical difference between the primary importance of food production versus the expensive recreational experience for the relatively wealthy; I also take issue with the assertion that golf courses are more economically significant.
If you check the SCEDT website on economic indicators in Summerland, you will see that the BC Fruit Growers Co-operative has the second largest number of employees in Summerland, at 100. Only the School district employs more. Our two local golf courses employ less than 20 people each, according to SCEDT.
How about the fruit stands, vineyards, wineries, and agri-tourism operations such as Summerland Sweets and Dickinson Family Farm? These land based, water dependant, agricultural operations employ many, many people.
In addition, there are 473 properties in Summerland which claim Farm Status. These farms are all providing, at minimum, a supplementary income for the proprietor, and for many, the primary income. These water dependant farms provide far more seasonal employment opportunities than another golf course would.
I also believe that you are over stating the tourist draw of Golf. The Okanagan is first and foremost renowned for its lakes and weather, FRUIT and WINE. Golfing is, maybe, a blip on the radar screen. In fact, according to Fox Sports News, the sport peaked in the 1990's and has been in decline ever since. In the US, sixty-three golf courses closed last year, double the number in 2001. Food production and agriclulture will never go out of style, unless people stop eating.

So to sum up, No, I don't think Golf Courses are anywhere near as important as agriculture, and a project which uses viable land and puts current farm operations in jeopardy of lacking for water, is not a suitable endeavour for Summerland.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Report sent to the ALC

Tony has written an incredibly comprehensive report outlining why Summerland should not be considering ANY agricultural lands for growth purposes. He makes very good arguments and I hope the ALC will consider his submission very seriously. Please take the time to read it.

It appears that the ALC commissioners will be meeting on September 23rd in Summerland to consider the James Lake ALR exclusion application. It is possible that they will be considering the West Prairie Valley application at that time as well. From what I gather, the public may be permitted at this meeting, but will not be allowed to address the panel. I will try to find out more about this planned meeting.

Friday, September 09, 2005

"Water Monsters"

Submitted by Caroline:

Sept. 9, 2005


The famed water monster of the Okanagan may die a slow agonizing death in Summerland. A new more powerful "water monster" is looming and rearing its’ ugly head. The children and teens of Summerland, grades 1–12 will be introduced to and taught to recognized water monsters. Apparently our Water Conservation Officer has contacted the B.C. Teachers Association and a curriculum will be prepared to initiate water issues and awareness. I wonder if the first lesson might include popping open the local newspaper. The new water monster is screaming out loud and clear, let me live here. "I will suck up your pressure liquid gold but I will spit out prosperity into the streets of your cute town. I promise to spawn 650 short term rentals, fast food take out, gift shops, cafes and boutiques. I am a huge water monster and I do have the potential to fracture your town core, but what the heck lets spread the wealth, let’s embrace sprawl.
Another great part of me is I will always look good. Granted I do need a lot more care, not like that fake Virtual Lawn that the Summerland Chamber of Economic Development & Tourism (SCEDT) put in. That lawn required absolutely no water! Me, once green, I get to stay green no matter what the WATER SITUATION may be in your town. Bylaws are already in place, my two other buddies also get to stay green, the law says so, ha-ha." Summerlanders may soon have 3 huge water monsters that are disguised as golf courses! Mr. Anderson of Virtual Lawn has stated that the typical lawn watering is 500 % percent greater than the average daily total household water use for drinking, taking showers, flushing toilets, cooking and cleaning combined. Also the current mayor loves grass. He speaks out loud and clear, rip up the wheatgrass, chew up the sheep fescue, get rid of the natural xeriscape, lets do something or we will look like we are doing nothing. Let us appease the money gods, move forward in a hurry!

Item number 8 on the Works and Utilities Meeting held on Sept.7, 2005, potential litigation; unusual words for a Utilities Meeting?

Page 19 local paper dated Sept. 8 words by our grass loving mayor “first, the vision”... now the stink.


Still Waiting for Answers

I am patiently waiting for these questions to be answered. These questions were posed to Mayor and Council first on August 23rd. I again sent these questions on September 8th, but have not yet received an answer.

Dear Mayor and Council Members,

I am again, respectfully asking my well-thought out questions regarding the process planned for the golf-course and residential project. I truly hope you will take the time to answer. These specific questions have not yet been addressed.

***Who decides how to proceed with a development such as this? Does Council or Staff make the decision to pursue one bylaw for all three issues or a separate OCP amendment bylaw, followed by a zoning/neighbourhood plan bylaw?

***Has this decision been made yet?

***How does the acceptance of the Neighbourhood Plan affect this process?

***Can Council now decide to pursue a separate bylaw on the OCP amendments and zoning amendments, allowing full and open dialogue on the intended use of these lands, prior to the neighbourhood plan bylaw?

***Was every member of Council fully aware of the consequences of accepting the neighbourhood plan, in that legal advice dictates there be no more formal, public, discussion on the Golf Course Proposal until the public hearing?

Mr. Mayor says council encourages citizens to participate and to ask well-thought out questions. I am respectfully asking Mayor and each member of Council to take the time to respond to these questions. The process used to deal with this proposal is of utmost importance.

Thank-you for your time,

~~~I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

This just in!

Through the Freedom of Information Act, an Association member has obtained the "in camera" minutes of the discussions and negotiations between your Council and LGH (Murphy Bros & Said) regarding the Land Swap deal for Little Giant's Head parkland. You will find these discussions very interesting. I am quite surprised that so much negotiating and agreements in principal can take place before ANY public consultation process begins. Council and staff will tell you that "this is just the way it's done." I completely disagree, as I feel OCP amendments and zoning changes can be considered and deliberated on BEFORE actual real estate deals on public lands are discussed. Call me crazy, but I just think is a more sensible way to proceed. I am hoping another Association member will consider obtaining all of the "in camera" minutes regarding the proposed golf course/residential deal. I am sure the stack is pretty thick.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Smart Growth in Summerland

Tom Lancaster, our speaker from Smart Growth BC at the August Meeting, was kind enough to send over the pdf file of his presentation. If you missed his presentation, you can view it here. It's not quite the real thing, lacking, of course, Tom's interesting and informative commentary, but you can at least view the main points and images. Thank's again, Tom!