Association of Citizens for Summerland

Friday, November 25, 2005

The Small Town Project

This site received an interesting comment to our recent post, "Paying for Growth, Prospering from Development". John Feeney from Iowa wrote to congratulate us on our efforts and to let us know that the small towns of Mount Vernon and Lisbon are in much the same situation as ours.
John publishes an excellent website dedicated to preserving and enhancing the best of those two towns. His website makes excellent reading. They have the same problems as we face, and just the same solution - concentrate on economic development instead of on physical growth.
Log on to

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Civilised Election Campaigns

We ordinary citizens of Summerland owe all the candidates a big vote of thanks. It was a sign of a decent, caring community that so many people were willing to run for office. The campaigns appeared to be very cleanly run, and there were no tales of signs being vandalised or other underhand tricks.
Candidates were almost entirely respectful of each other and stuck to the issues.
Politicians at the Provincial and Federal level could learn a lot about decency and civility from our local candidates.
Many thanks from all Association members (and surely also from the general public) to every single person who ran for office

Coldstream Citizen Takes Council to Supreme Court

It has been a controversial development proposal from the start. Now there is a legal challenge to a major expansion of a senior's facility in the north Okanagan. The owners of the 'Coldstream Meadows' have been given the go-ahead to expand the 60 unit housing complex into a 270 unit 'campus of care'. But many Coldstream residents oppose the expansion, complaining the development is too big and there aren't sufficient services like roads and sewer. Now one of those residents is asking the BC Supreme Court to overturn Coldstream council's approval of the expansion. Don Henry alleges the re-zoning was not done properly and other approval processes were also legally flawed. The District of Coldstream says its lawyers are reviewing the matter.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Election Comment

Association Members, you should all be very proud of the work we have done over the past months and of the consequent election results. Three of our members, Lorraine Bennest, Peter Waterman and David Finnis, are now councillors. They are articulate, informed and intelligent people who will do a great job for the community. Amie Harbor, another member, came so so close! What a shame she was not elected.

There were some clear messages in the Summerland voting results.

1) Janice Perrino was forthright and passionate in her statements and this, added to her already high profile in the community, gave her more votes than any other councillor candidate.

2) Of the incumbents, Rick Cogbill and Elaine Spittlehouse took the strongest pro growth, pro - Summerland Hills stance, and they received very few votes.

3) Peter Hamilton had everything going against him (he lives in Faulder, was unknown to Summerlanders going into this election, he spent less than any of his opponents, he was working full time so had little time for campaigning) yet he did very well. Peter took a strong position in favour of slow growth, fiscal responsibility, and rigid standards for approval of the Summerland Hills development. He was the only one to say outright that a Referendum on such a huge development was appropriate. 1247 voters liked his message.

4) The Mayoralty race results were stunning, to say the least. David Gregory got almost twice as many votes as his opponents combined. Carla Wright took a more inclusive position than Rick Cogbill did, she provided information for everyone to read on this site, and in return received three times as many votes.
Surely the main message was that voters were very disappointed with Council's performance over the past three years and they trust David Gregory to put Council back on track.

2005 Election Results

Summerland election results are in:


Gregory, David


Bennest, Lorraine
Finnis, David
Hallquist, Bruce
Perrino, Janice
Roberge, Ken
Waterman, Peter

School Trustees

Denesiuk, Connie
Van Alphen, Linda

Friday, November 18, 2005

Compare the Candidates, Vote Saturday!

The Board is providing unfiltered information to help members and the general public make a wise choice on 19th November.

These are the platform statements and answered All Candidates Questions we have received so far:

Mayoral Candidates:
David Gregory & Carla Wright, Answers Head to Head

Councillor Candidates:
Lorraine Bennest, Answers
Peter Hamilton, Platform Statement, Answers
George Redlich, Answers
Peter Waterman, Platform Statement
Amie Harbor, Platform Statement, Answers
Jim Kyluik, Platform Statement, Answers
David Finnis, Platform Statement, Answers

School Board Candidates' Answers:
Terry Locke
Connie Denesiuk
Linda Van Alphen

A few people have asked if the Association Board is endorsing candidates whose platforms are posted on this site. It is not. Association members will decide for themselves which candidates best represent the philosophy and objectives of the Association.
Every candidate who is running for office has been offered the opportunity to post a "platform statement" of around 250 - 300 words. Every statement received so far has been posted.
Every candidate has been sent the unanswered questions from the All Candidate's Meeting of 26th October. Every candidate who responds with answers will have those answers posted on this site.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Paying for Growth, Prospering from Development

"There are plenty of ways to develop an economy without growth"
"Successful communities are those that accept neither unquestioned growth nor the inevitability of decline"
For a thoughtful and well researched paper from the Rocky Mountain Institute explaining how sustainable development offers jobs without the problems of growth, whilst primarily physical growth (i.e a subdivision tract) has a negative economic and social impact on a community, just log on to this web page.

Kelowna Development Cost Charges to Rise Again

Rumour has it that Kelowna will soon increase its DCCs. The DCCs for a single lot, single residence in the Mission are presently $19,930. They will soon be over $21,000 according to reports. The increases are needed to cover the growing cost of providing services.

Why are Summerland's DCC's less than half of those in Kelowna?

Amie Harbor's Platform

I will bring a new perspective to Council. I am enthusiastic and creative and I know that Summerland can change in ways that are both prosperous and responsible, unique and exciting. I would like to see a newly elected Council consider new urban planning ideas, as many of the old paradigms for growth can't be relied upon anymore.

Sustainability should be considered seriously and put into actual practice. I am prepared to do that. If I am elected to Council, these are the issues that I will make a priority:
 I will advocate sustainability through the investigation and support of Smart Growth principles.
 I will advocate for the protection of our farmlands through an OCP which recognizes that agriculture is not only our heritage, but is intrinsic to our future.
 I will enhance a vibrant and dynamic downtown through the participation with organizations such as Okanagan Partnerships and the Chamber of Commerce. I would work to improve sidewalks and trails that link our downtown with the rest of the community and encourage local shopping.
 I will strive to protect our environment by stressing that our OCP reflects the importance of Summerland's natural habitats.
 And most importantly, I will always encourage, facilitate and nurture public dialogue on major projects. We need improved communication and early participation to ensure that the best interests of all members of this community are served.
Sustainable community planning is not a sacrifice! Towns and cities planned this way are cleaner, healthier, less expensive and more economically secure. Let’s take the time to explore all the possibilities and make careful, informed decisions. A balance must be reached while considering the carrying capacity of this beautiful valley we call home.

I am ready to explore the possibilities and meet the challenges of shaping Summerland in the years to come. Please elect me, Amie Harbor, to Summerland's Muncipal Council.

Dr. David Gregory Supports Workshops

"I would support Smart Growth workshops in Summerland. I have concerns about Smart Growth though and I want to be ‘up-front’ with the concerns. The nine principles of Smart Growth can not all be successfully applied to small communities (reference Sprawl 2004 Report). Two points to consider. Firstly the notion that Summerland can significantly densify the downtown core because that is where the services already exist: is flawed. Our infrastructure is weak in the downtown core; specifically roadways. Our narrow streets can not support high density growth. Moderate density growth I agree with."

"Secondly, prime agricultural lands border on the downtown core. Too much densification of the downtown core would place some of Summerland’s best and oldest farm land at risk. This concern was a prime factor when the OCP was written in 1996.'

NOTE: Dr. Gregory raises thoughtful questions about Smart Growth. The Association has always recognised that Smart Growth Guidelines were originally developed with large towns and cities in mind, and must be carefully adapted to suit Summerland's needs. This is precisely the reason for the concensus building Workshops starting in January,

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Five Candidates have already written to the Association to support the SmartGrowthBC ® workshops we will run in January. Your Board hopes that others will also express their written support. Comments we have received so far:
Lorraine Bennest: "With true Smart Growth, our planning process will better prepare us for increased population, climate change and water shortages. One severe drought would trigger enormous costs.”
Amie Harbor: “An engaged citizenry is the cornerstone of a healthy community. The workshops offered through SmartGrowthBC will help define a collective and inclusive vision for Summerland”
Peter Hamilton: “Development Cost Charges typically don’t cover the full cost of new infrastructure. Smart Growth encourages development in the currently serviced areas in town, avoiding unnecessary tax hikes”.
David Finnis: “Growth should meet the needs of taxpayers rather than taxpayers meeting the needs of growth”
Peter Waterman: “Agriculture is a vital component of the Summerland economy. Smart Growth will retain farmland, ensuring a strong contribution by agriculture and a strong mix for tourism and Summerland’s rural setting.”

Your Board hopes other candidates will also support this initiative. We look forward to receiving their support, and we will publish additional supporting quotes if we receive them.
Please encourage other candidates to support the workshops.

Association Brings Smart Growth to Town

The Association, together with SmartGrowthBC ®, will run Summerland’s first Smart Growth ® workshops, starting in early January 2006. The provisional date for the first workshop is 5th January. It is expected to last about 3 hours. The workshops will be directed by SmartGrowthBC ® staff. All Summerlanders will be invited to participate.

Members were disappointed that Council recently rejected the Association’s invitation to jointly sponsor the Workshops. “It was an opportunity for Council and the ACS to work hand in hand for the betterment of Summerland” said Board member and former Councillor John Tamblyn. “We hope the new Council will join us in this vital project, but we will proceed alone if need be.”

The workshops could result in a plan to enhance all that is good about Summerland, without sacrificing the very essence of the community. The Association expects that hundreds of Summerlanders will want to take part in these workshops.

“Some people want no growth, some want lots of growth, and some think that slower, wisely chosen development is appropriate. We will try to bring everyone together, find common ground, and build consensus”, said former Councillor and Board Member Sheila White.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Association Objectives

The Association currently has about 300 members, they all love Summerland and they are prepared to donate money and time to improve their community. They believe that Summerlanders enjoy a very special quality of life, and they are working to preserve and enhance that lifestyle. They recognize that the vitality of Summerland does not depend on growth and development.

The Association will support development and change if it enhances and improves Summerland’s small town character, friendly ambience and rural nature.

The Association’s objectives are:

1. To advocate a rate of growth whereby the essence of the community is not sacrificed.
2. To support the concept that growth forever is impossible, so at some point a well-planned transition to sustainability will be required.
3. To advocate policy which recognizes that Summerland’s water is a limited resource.
4. To protect the Agricultural Land Reserve (the ALR).
5. To inform the membership and the public of pertinent and important issues.
6. To be a cohesive citizen’s voice.
7. To support and encourage agriculture, agri-tourism and related businesses.
8. To encourage a prosperous, healthy and vibrant downtown area.
9. To restrict commercial development of Highway 97 within Summerland’s boundaries.
10. To encourage the development of recreation facilities, parks, public open spaces, the arts, the library and cultural activities.
11. To demand fiscal responsibility, with tax increases limited to increases in the Consumer Price Index.

If this represents your view of Summerland, please join us. Together we can ensure that Summerland has a great future!

Page Hits Approach 36,000

Members, you will be pleased to know that page hits on this website were over 35,000 as of Monday!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Open for Comments

The Board of the Association has decided to re-open the site for comments by readers. We ask that people comment in a civilised manner, stick to the issues, and engage in rational discussion. In the event of personal attacks the site will again be closed to comments.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Inadequate Engineering Reports?

At Monday's SCEDT All Candidates Forum David Gregory said something like "To me, one of the biggest problems in this town is lousy engineering reports." I asked David for an example of his concerns. What follows is, I am told, a sample part page from the recent Water Separation Study - with worrying part emphasised. Let's hope major decisions are not being made on the basis of such work!

District of Summerland - Water Separation Notes

Estimate the required storage tank volume

The total residential MDD (including lawn sprinkling) for the potential lake zones I. approximately 6,1 ML/day.

Assume only low density residential fire flow requirements.

• Fire Storage — 5000 Lpm x 106 mm • 525 cu.m.
• Peaking Storage m 6100 ou.m x 0.25 a 1525 cu.m.
• Emergency Storage 0.25 x (525 + 1525) • 512 cu.m. Total tank storage (TF.4) .525 + 1525 + 512 • 2563 ou.m. Use 2560.

Note: The water model has become unsynchronized with its database, and for some reason, It will not correct itself. Therefore, it’s necessary to go back to an older version that is synchronized.
Therefore the following models have been put into a historical folder and a copy of
SummerlandGZ’20050541 .wcd was saved as Summ,rlandGZ.2005.06’~03,Wcd. SummerlandGZ~2005~06’01 .wcd
This means that two day’s worth of work has been lost, Including the elevation update.
1 2005-0603
South Giant’s Head — Potential System
b~ G/en Zachari I

Terry Locke Answers

Q: What aspect of school district operations do you think need to be changed?
I believe the budget process should be changed to a committee of stakeholders for input from October to March of each year.

Q: What or which position did you support during the recent teachers’ strike?
I took the position that the government created the entire mess by not bargaining in good faith. They did this knowing that they would pass legislation taking away the teacher’s rights to bargain.
I support the teachers on this issue as the government fully anticipated that the only reaction left to the teachers was to strike.d

Q: Do you feel there are too many special needs children in a class room? What will you do to be sure these children receive the help they need?
I believe that Special Needs includes a number of categories. I believe we have to research the model we are currently using for the delivery of education to all the categories and make sure it works for the classroom in general.

What are your priorities in dealing with a system which is under funded?
I believe Trustees should be continually lobbying government for proper funding which would include a funding formula that works. We have to get back to some targetted funding and not have any flexibility on targetted funds.

Q: What plans do you have to help dilute the current tension between the School Board and the Teachers Association?
I think most of the tension is again created by government through their bargaining association, BCPSEA. I commend the principals for their understanding and goodwill shown at the picket lines. This will help to settle the situation.
The provincial government directed School Boards not to spread the days of lost wages over a number of months. Unfortunately, School Boards acccepted this mean-spirited directive. I truly believe that this represents a lost opportunity to show compassion and support to our outstanding teaching staff.

Q: How will you communicate to the broader public and appease their concerns?
I believe we should create a Trustee’s Newsletter and send it home every two months.

Q: Do you have any comments on the report recently released by Vince Ready? What impact do you think it will have on you as a School Board Trustee?
I don’t believe the Ready Report and the recommendations were up to the high standards expected of him. If the government was serious about the concerns put forward by teachers, they would have appointed Mr. Ready as an Industrial Inquiry Commissioner with binding arbitration authority.

Q: The present bargaining process between the government, school boards and teachers obviously does not work well. What are your major goals for a new bargaining process?
All the trouble in education started with provincial bargaining protocols that meant the government had to approve everything that school districts did at the bragaining table through their agent, BCPSEA.
My view is that we should bargain regionally with our employer groups and BCPSEA should be disbanded.

Jim Kyluik's Platform

I am Jim Kyluik and I am for:
- a dependable well planned water system for now and in the future
- improving the infrastructure, smart development and improving the business climate

I am a Certified Professional Purchaser, I have my business administration from the University of Saskatchewan. I have taken about 50 or 60 courses over the last 20 years to keep me up to date on the latest technology.

I am not an accountant. I am in Purchasing, I do contracts, negotiations and getting the best value for your dollar. I have been involved with projects valued at over $750 M. I just completed a project in Mongolia, worth over $80 M. With these projects I negotiated water, sewer, landfill, roads, equipment, maintenance, buildings, transportation etc. Pretty well everything that would be involved in the District of Summerland. I have worked for the City of Edmonton as a Senior Materials Management Specialist.

My platform is sound money management, whether it is infrastructure, development, or getting maximum value for your tax dollars.
My goals are to be part of the finance committee and satisfy the citizens of Summerland with cost savings, eliminating red tape, stabilizing taxes and promoting the business climate in Summerland, but not forgetting the community spirit we all love and want to keep.

I feel I have the education and Professional Experience in various projects, contracts and problem solving management teams to provide the Leadership and common sense approach in moving forward in a positive way on issues that concern the community. Yes, we live here in Summerland, the jewel of the Okanagan, where there is a town center with a soul and community spirit, friendly people and a “small town” atmosphere. My wife and I love it here.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

The Big Myths About Growth

Here are some excerpts from the book "Better Not Bigger", by Eben Fodor. New Society Publishers, 1999. Just a sampling, and a precis of some of his points. This book inspired the "better not bigger" bumper stickers. Not a light read, but a worthwhile read!

"Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." - Edward Abbey

Statements such as "we have to grow or die", or "we have to grow to get new tax revenue" are repeatedly made to justify growth. They are usually made in an unqualified manner with no supporting evidence.
We are urged to make concessions and sacrifices for development to gain alleged benefits such as new jobs, a bigger tax base, or some vague promise of economic prosperity. We are told that slowing growth would be disastrous and that even if we wanted to slow growth, it would be impossible.
But where is the analysis to prove those claims? It is important to get beyond the rhetoric and base decisions on objective information.
The biggest myths are about taxes, jobs, economic prosperity and housing.

Myth: Growth provides needed tax revenues.
Reality Check: Growth tends to raise local tax rates. The direct and indirect costs of urban growth place new and greater demands on local resources. According to empirical data, becoming a larger town increases the tax burden.

Myth: We have to grow to provide jobs for people in the community:
Reality Check: We can’t grow our way out of local employment problems. Growth just makes the problem bigger. The real question is not whether growth creates jobs, but whether it reduces local unemployment.

Myth: If we try to limit growth, housing prices will shoot up.
Reality Check:
Growth controls can produce many benefits for a community and may even result in a better distribution of affordable housing than market driven growth. Towns and cities with rapid growth usually have the highest housing prices.

Myth: Growth is inevitable. Growth management doesn’t work and therefore we have no choice but to continue growing. You can’t put a fence around your town.
Reality Check: You can establish limits to growth and you can create a "railing" around your community. Saying that "growth is inevitable" implies that we are helpless victims of change, that we must accept whatever growth is thrust upon us, and that our only choice is the manner in which we accommodate it.
We can rein in growth without fences. We can set limits of growth and even cap the ultimate size of our community. We can adopt policies that discourage undesirable kinds of growth. The idea of unlimited, or forced, growth is repulsive. It implies a horrible sickness, like a cancer.

Myth: If you don’t want growth you’re a NIMBY.
Reality Check:
NIMBYS have valid concerns! Negative labels are used against concerned citizens to neutralize opposition to growth. However, a NIMBY is more likely to be someone who cares enough about the future of his or her community to get out and protect it. Great NIMBYS of the past kept hazardous waste dumps, major polluters and other nuisances out of their communities.
People who want slow growth tend to be those who really care very much about the future of their communities and want to protect what they value for generations to come. Is it more accurate to refer to such a person as anti-growth or as pro-community?

Myth: Most people don’t really support growth management or environmental protection.
Reality Check:
Most people recognise the importance of environmental protection and the need to manage growth.
In numerous studies, on average, over 70% of respondents believe that maintaining a quality environment is more important to economic growth than relaxing environmental standards. In areas that have experienced rapid growth, public opinion surveys consistently show that a strong majority of the public will support policies to curb growth. In 1988 a survey of LA residents showed that 75% favored slowing or stopping growth. We all know how well the politicians listened to that.

Myth We have to "grow or die". Growth makes the economy strong and creates better paying jobs.
Reality Check:
The short term benefits of additional growth may not outweigh the longer-term costs.

Myth: Vacant or undeveloped land is just going to waste.
Reality Check:
Open space and farmland are valuable and irreplaceable assets that contribute significantly to every community. We all feel regret at the loss of a particular area of open space. What was that land contributing that makes us miss it? A relaxing view, a sense of comfort, tranquility, an oasis of nature, a buffer? Perhaps we’re also disturbed by the permanence of the loss. The farmer’s cows will never graze the pasture that has sprouted a golf course, a mall, or a housing development.

Myth: A persons visual preference is no basis for objecting to development.
Reality Check:
The beauty of the land is priceless and its destruction is permanent! That pleasing view may be one of the most significant qualities of a community. Too many people tend to dismiss the benefits of natural landscapes. A 1994 study by the National Association of Home Builders found that the single most important factor affecting the market value of a home was the surrounding environment. When visual preferences carry such a price tag, they can hardly be dismissed as trivial.

Myth: Building more (and bigger) roads will solve the problems of traffic congestion.
Reality Check:
Build it and they will come

Myth: Bigger (or More) is better.
Reality Check:
Small is beautiful and enough is enough.

Myth: Change is good.
Reality Check:
Change is inevitable, but not necessarily good.

These abbreviated excerpts are a sampling of Fodor's work

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


The ALC today released its report stating that "Area 11" - all 154 hectares, is released from the ALR. The full text is available for viewing here.

Evaluation Was Flawed

Letter to ALC follows:
Dear Mr Collins,
I have heard a rumour that the ALC is expected to grant the application for removal of ALR land for the proposed development in the northwest corner of Summerland. The rationale for granting the request is that the sector was identified as non arable in the OCP of Summerland almost ten years ago. At that time the land had not been carefully evaluated, was considered to be marginally arable, and it was considered appropriate to remove it from the ALR.

Since that time two things have happened. Firstly, the wine industry, which thrives on marginal soils, has developed exponentially. Secondly, we have the benefit of climate change. This has allowed us to expand the boundaries of agriculture beyond the historic limitations.

The previous evaluation upon which the Summerland OCP was based was flawed and the decision was wrong. If you continue the process of land removal, you will also be wrong to conclude that the land is not economically arable. You have the ability to correct the previous error but it will not be corrected by allowing the land removal.
Gary Strachan