Association of Citizens for Summerland

Friday, October 27, 2006

Municipal Land Was Available for Anyone to Buy??

Letter writer Buzz Smith, together with some former Councillors and at least two current Councillors, claim that the 300 acres of Municipal Land in North Prairie Valley was available to anyone to buy but only the Summerland Hills group came forward with a bid.
That is a distortion of the facts.
This parcel of land has never been advertised for sale. There was no proposal call, there was no advertising campaign requesting expressions of interest. What happened, we can only assume, was that one development group with local knowledge appoached Staff and the last Council with a proposal, and it took off from there.
How could developers without local connections have known that the property was available for sale?
When the proposed sale of the land to the Summerland Hills group became public knowledge (and before the land was taken out of the ALR) a local consortium with impeccable agricultural expertise and considerable financial backing made a proposal to purchase the land and use it for a vineyard, winery and agro-tourism project. They were told they were too late.
The crux of the matter is that this extremely valuable piece of real estate belongs to the people of Summerland, and if Council insists on selling it then at least it should be sold for the highest price possible. The normal way to get that highest price is to advertise extensively and solicit bids from every possible source, as any novice realtor knows.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Draft OCP Ignores Most Important Question

Summerland's Draft OCP (like every other Okanagan OCP) sadly continues to ignore the most fundamental and difficult question, which is:- Growth cannot continue forever, that is a physical impossibility. so at what point must growth stop?

Do we just keep on growing until the Valley becomes an undesireable place to live and we run out of space and water? What kind of a third rate plan is that? If we want to preserve any of the qualities that brought us all here in the first place, we must address the question, "what is a realistic carrying capacity for the Okanagan Valley"? For example, pollution is mainly proportional to population density. How much pollution is tolerable in a valley with temperature inversions?

Okanagan OCPs only address the short term future - up to 20 years maximum. They plan for where to grow next. No Okanagan community has yet had the courage to come to grips with the basic problem of how much would be too much. We cannot ignore this question and just pass it along to our children and grandchildren to grapple with. By then it will be too late.

Our population is increasing at an ever accelerating rate, due to the inevitability of that darling of financial planners, compound growth. Instead of just letting our population accelerate along a rising curve, which is stupid to the point of imbecility, population growth should slowly taper off to nothing over many years so we end up with a steady state, sustainable economy and population level and no economic shockwave.

No doubt yet another person will cry "you can't shut the gates to newcomers!" May I remind that person that over the past 10 years 1,400 Summerlanders have died and a far greater number have moved away. Thousands have moved in to replace them. A steady state population still allows for lots of folk to move here every year. Only half of the folks in town today lived here 10 to 12 years ago. "Shutting the gates" is a nonsense. If we really did shut the gates Summerland would almost be a ghost town within 30 years or so. No one advocates that.