Photo by JEFF STOKOE/Advocate staff

Photo by JEFF STOKOE/Advocate staff

Similkameen sportsmen cast concerns about Summerland housing project

Keremeos-Cawson Sportsmen Association voices concerns about housing project near Summerland hatchery

A local sportsmen group is voicing concerns about a proposed development near the hatchery in Summerland.

The Keremeos-Cawston Sportsmen Association has come out against a controversial proposed development in Summerland near the hatchery.

“The K-CSA believes the development, as currently conceived, will potentially threaten the quality of water available to the Summerland Trout Hatchery. It thereby jeopardizes the continued operation of the hatchery and the future of the substantial recreational fishery it supports,” a statement released to the Review about the proposed 400-unit senior housing development reads.

Kathaleen Gibbs, a media spokesperson for the club, said the statement was drafted by a K-CSA Fisheries Committee member after several members voiced concerns.

“We want to be clear we’re not opposed to development. It’s about location and because it’s located on a aquifer that feeds the hatchery,” she said.

Members of the K-CSA plan to attend a public hearing scheduled for Feb. 5 at the Arena Banquet Room in Summerland to publicly come out against the development.

Gibbs said the club along with many other groups in the Similkameen and throughout the South Okanagan have worked hard over the years to improve access to angling.

The hatchery supplies fish stocks to many lakes including Yellow Lake, where the K-CSA has done extensive work over.

Over the last few years the club along with others supporters have replaced several wharfs and completed an extension of a dock at the lake, which is a popular fishing spot for locals and tourists.

“It isn’t about what we’ve done. This is bigger than K-CSA. Everyone had done projects all over. Everyone has worked really hard to improve angling. We don’t want to see this development wipe out the hatchery and we want people to know that this project isn’t just going to impact Summerland it’s going to impact everywhere.”

The Lark Group is hoping to build 400-plus units of seniors housing with a mix of market housing, independent and assisted living, along with amenities, on a group of properties east of Bristow Road in Summerland.

Opposition to the Banks Crescent proposal started building as soon as it was announced, with some residents expressing concerns about the stability of the slope, the effects on Shaughnessy Spring, which supplies water to the trout hatchery, deterioration of local roads and changes to the current rural character of the neighbourhood. A petition started in late 2016 opposing the development topped more than 1,000 signatures by the end of January 2017, and now is over 3,000.

A public hearing is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 5 at the Arena Banquet Room (8820 Jubilee Rd.) and will be broken up into two sections: 1:30 to 4: 30 p.m. and 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

-with files

Keremeos Review