Association of Citizens for Summerland

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.


  • I was quite taken aback recently by the leader of a group of people in Kelowna who espouses the philosophy of the "New Urbanism". His group has political amibitions in forming a majority of the members of that city's mayor and council. They are preturbed about the explosive growth of Kelowna in recent years--they quote in excess of 4% per annum. This growth, if it contines unabated, will result in the doubling of Kelowna's population by 2015.
    When approached about forming a coalition of groups in the Valley with similar goals of controlling growth, they were very adamant about having nothing to do with any "Smart Growth" promoters. They suggested that I look up New Urbanism on the internet to look at where they were coming from. I did this, and as well, looked up some of the objections people of apparent knowledge have about Smart Growth. I found lots. And I was shocked to find that there were quite a few cities and towns, mostly in the U.S. that had experimented with Smart Growth and found that it lacked the muscle to not only slow down sprawl, but caused a number of problems when its agenda was implemented. Most interesting. I'm not going to go into the details here. I would rather that you took the time yourself and looked up some of the details of what the antagonists of this movement had to say. I will be making a hard copy of my findings and will have it available soon for those that are interested--and I think you should be. I am all in favour of Smart Growth workshops. But, I don't think we should accept all the ideas they offer as gospel.

    Frank Martens
    October 7th, 2005

    By Blogger Frank Martens, at 2:10 p.m.  

  • Frank, it is up to Summerlanders to wisely adapt Smart Growth principles to our own town. Yes, smart growth can lead to even more development if proponents do not anticipate possible resulting effects. But nothing is perfect - There is no magic bullet. However Smart Growth wins over Dumb Growth. What we really need is for folk to understand the difference between economic growth and physical growth - you can have lots of economic growth without much physical growth if you are "Smart" enough.

    By Blogger tony cooke, at 9:09 p.m.  

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