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LETTER: Summerland affordable housing proposal opposed

"For a building that will change the dynamic of a small town, I would have expected more discussion."

Dear Editor:

I am writing to you to oppose the proposed development on Jubilee Road.

There are so many things wrong with this proposal, but I’d like to start with the process. It has been anything but transparent. My family and friends only found out about it on the news or by word of mouth.

For a building that will forever change the dynamic of a small town, I would have expected more discussion with the long time residents who will be negatively impacted. And no, on-line presentations and Zoom meetings do not count for open dialogue.

More than half the population of Summerland are seniors, with little or no computer access. Many I’m sure are dealing with health issues, making it impossible to find the energy to fight this.

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But back to the proposal. We all know Summerland needs more affordable housing for seniors, working poor, young single moms (and dads) with kids. The outside pressure on real estate in the interior has created a desperate urgency to produce housing, but how many of these units are for Summerlanders?

The lack of imagination in planning is laughable. You allowed a high end, half million dollar per unit project to go forward in the downtown area, which would have been more suitable for this cause, as this shortage has been a long time coming.

Now, almost as an afterthought, we’ll just cram 60 units off this side street, dwarf the little homes that already exist, and increase the traffic to a point that makes living there noisy and untenable.

If you are truly trying to accommodate people, why not use the space for only 12 small townhouse units, offering a small back yard for families, and seniors to enjoy this little town, the way we have all come to love it. Why force people into little boxes?

Let’s demand more provincial money to offset the costs, or maybe put some of your projects on hold, and do the right thing. Find more areas around town for smaller complexes, to spread out the dwellings.

Here’s a thought: just renovate the Aquatic Centre, and use the allocated funds to help fund several small housing projects around town. I’m sure many residents would rather see their tax dollars used to help with subsidized housing, as many have friends and family currently affected by the ridiculous real estate market.

I know none of you would like to have a five-storey complex built several feet away from any of your homes, blocking out the sunlight. Funny that you feel it’s okay for someone else.

Peggy Padden


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