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.

Just Posted

Sister of cancer victim cycles across Canada to raise awareness

Her journey started on May 14 and will end in early August

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: cloudy

Environment Canada is calling for a similar day tomorrow.

Top women’s hockey player Natalie Spooner coming to the Okanagan

Natalie Spooner special guest at annual Grindstone Award Foundation charity weekend in Kelowna

Woman in hospital after being thrown off horse

She was airlifted to Kelowna General Hospital from Okanagan Falls

Update: Washed out South Okanagan road temporarily closed for assessment

A portion of Eastside Road, south of Penticton, appears to be crumbling into Skaha Lake

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Update: Plan to see more smoke from South Okanagan wildfire

Richter Creek wildfire, 12 kilometres west of Osoyoos, is an estimated 400 hectares

Should B.C. already be implementing province-wide fire bans?

A petition is calling for B.C. Wildfire Service to issue a ban to reduce risk of human caused wildfires

Growing wildfire prompts evacuation of High Level, Alta.

Chuckegg Creek fire has been burning for several day, but grew substantially Sunday

Okanagan art gallery releases their theme

Fine arts painting will be the point of focus for this year’s event

South Okanagan search and rescue help injured climber

Search and rescue called on the assistance of a helicopter to help retrieve an injured hiker

Okanagan nature centre fundraiser goes western

Allan Brook’s Nature Centre Wine and Wild West Fundraiser is on July 6

Marriage proposal on the big screen at Enderby drive-in

Kelowna man gets engaged in front of hundreds to Vernon sweetheart

Take-home drug testing kits latest pilot to help curb B.C.’s overdose crisis

Researchers look to see if fentanyl testing could be a useful tool for those who use drugs alone

Most Read