LETTER: Concerns raised about Summerland solar site

Reports should be studied carefully before making decision

Dear Editor:

The solar integration project meeting on May 6 was interesting. Lots of info that was already on the website and some that is not.

The site chosen is of concern to me. It is a wonderful site and perfect for this project. So perfect and so obvious that I am concerned the staff and consultants did not really look at other sites.

Certainly the other three locations were ridiculously inappropriate.

READ ALSO: Summerland solar project will provide electricity

READ ALSO: Site selected for Summerland solar project

The Dunn Street houses were purchased by the municipality as lands for potential expansion of the waste water treatment plant. They wait as rental housing.

The lands around the landfill will be too dusty for solar panels and who knows how we will have to expand and manage our landfill.

The roofs of the arena and police station were too small to do the whole project. It may be in the future we will make use of this space.

Clearly the south toe of Cartwright Mountain is by far an easier site to use.

It has long been in the plan to use these lands to facilitate the expansion of the sewer into the North Prairie Valley area to service the millions of dollars worth of municipally-owned lands — lands we can use for residential development, perhaps even affordable housing.

It has also been part of the plan to provide sewer service to the Deer Ridge area. There are times when the ground water draining off the upper areas of Cartwright Mountain carries water from the Deer Ridge septic tanks to the farmlands below.

READ ALSO: Summerland’s solar power array on schedule

Are there other options for the solar panels? Yes there are. How well would they work? I don’t know because I am unable to access the reports dealing with the professional analysis. When I asked, I was told I would need to do a Freedom of Information Request to get this information.

Reports paid for with taxpayer funds are routinely released for public consumption.

Of greater concern is that council itself had only two days to consider the information before deciding on the site.

After a couple of terms on council I developed an interest in reading through reports created by professionals and tried my best to integrate them with the knowledge of people who had been here much longer than me and had a feel for the area.

It is the combining of the professional expertise and the consultation with local knowledge that creates the best plans.

We have a significant staff turnover. We recently lost our planner and our chief administrative officer.

We are an expensive place to buy a home. We have not solved the dilemma of housing affordability. And we are all opposed to more development.

The future holds huge population shifts as the climate continues to change.

Our Official Community Plan is 11 years old and confused due to many incremental changes. It is past time for council to initiate a community plan review process. It gives us a chance to work more closely with our new planning staff so we can all come to a better understanding of where we want to go.

I look forward to receiving the documents underpinning this solar project decision so I can be reassured this is the best location.

In the meantime, the decision makers can see if there is a way to do this project without preventing our community from utilizing an important asset for future growth and affordable housing.

Lorraine Bennest

Summerland

To report a typo, email:
news@summerlandreview.com
.



news@summerlandreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Central Okanagan school buses to remain parked through the summer

The board of education made the decision to nix bus services on Wednesday

Motor trike crashes into hole in Ellison area

A man was taken to hospital after crashing his trike on Anderson Road

Playgrounds to reopen across the Okanagan on June 1

After nearly two months closure, playgrounds are set to reopen

Kelowna’s Rock the Lake officially postponed until 2021

The new dates have been scheduled for August 6-8, 2021

Mission prison COVID-19 outbreak ends, 9 new cases in B.C.

New positive test at Port Coquitlam care home

Flood watch for Salmon River upgraded as high temperatures, rain forecast

Shuswap Emergency Program warns residents to prepare now for possible extreme flooding

Partial return to class for Central Okanagan students: COVID-19

School District 23 and the Board of Education have released a letter regarding returning to class

Man who bound, murdered Vancouver Island teen still a risk to public: parole board

Kimberly Proctor’s killer is still ‘mismanaging emotions,’ has had ‘temper tantrums’

VIDEO: Humpback whales put on quite a show

The ‘playful’ pod lingered by a Campbell River tour operator’s boat for quite some time

RCMP request public’s help in locating missing Salmon Arm man

Ken Derkach is a familiar face to many, one of the city’s residents who is without a home

Booze on Kelowna beaches? Mayor says ‘not at the moment’

Mayor Colin Basran says alcohol in public spaces is not on council’s radar right now — but that could change

Getting hitched at historic B.C. gold rush town still on table during COVID-19 pandemic

Micro-weddings, online visits, offered at Barkerville Historic Town and Park

VIDEO: Police look for suspect seen tripping elderly woman in Burnaby

The elderly woman was walking near the SkyTrain station when she was randomly tripped

Most Read