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LETTER: Questions raised about Summerland solar project

Site of proposed project has been considered for previous initiatives

Dear Editor:

The solar project is important to our community, the process has been somewhat unusual and with the COVID-19 pandemic, public input to council has been difficult.

The proposed site is our land; valuable real estate, surrounded by expensive, taxpayer-funded infrastructure. It is close to town, four to five blocks from Giant’s Head School. There has been lots of interest in our property over the years: UBC-Okanagan university, the wine industry, several clever residential proposals and even the site of the Okanagan prison.

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Summerland’s very public 1996 and 2008 Official Community Plans identified this property as the keystone to expansion of the sewer and drainage and future growth into the hills of Prairie Valley.

At last year’s open house (pre-COVID-19) I asked five questions, which still remain unanswered. Perhaps the project manager can submit the answers to these questions to the Summerland Review.

1. Why hasn’t this land been appraised so we can compare cost benefits?

2. Why do solar panels need expensive, fully serviced land?

3. There were in camera meetings to discuss public land. Who made that decision? (In camera meetings are meant for private land, not taxpayers’ land)

4. If there is no developer, who pays for future expansion of infrastructure into the hills of Prairie Valley? The taxpayer?

5. This project will impact several long established municipal master plans (road, sewer, drainage.) Please provide your alternative plans.

I look forward to reading these answers. I am not objecting to a solar project. The solar project should be on raw land or on roofs of buildings and homes.

David Gregory

Summerland

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