Summerland municipal council is on a path to locate their solar project on a piece of property earmarked in the Official Community Plan for future residential growth.
This property, along with the Deer Ridge area was debated extensively during the 2015 growth strategy process.
The council of the day, which includes five of our current council, unanimously voted to include this land in the Urban Growth Area.
This land mass represents close to 20 per cent of our property base earmarked for growth.
Policies for urban growth developed at the time note that “The primary objective of the UGA is to direct residential and commercial growth to central areas… while preserving outlying areas for …industrial agricultural, forestry, tourism and recreation.”
The fact that a majority of our current council decided to include the west Prairie Valley area into the Urban Growth Area essentially reserved it for residential and commercial growth. The policy also notes that land uses beyond residential and commercial (solar farm) should be located outside the Urban Growth Area.
To now propose a solar farm on this site without any amendment to the Official Community Plan essentially changes the direction established in 2015 that involved a large contingent of the community.
If council intends to remove this large parcel of land from residential growth for the next 25 plus years, an amendment to the Urban Growth Area should be completed with the appropriate community consultation.
Only after such an amendment is passed should this project proceed in this location. Otherwise council is unilaterally changing the direction that they themselves wrote into the Official Community Plan growth strategy.
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