After reading and agreeing with the points that George Guernsey made in his letter in the Feb. 20 Summerland Review, we were prompted to write this letter.
Thirty-five years ago, when we first moved here, Summerland was described to us as “a diamond in the rough.”
We saw then, as we see now, a polarization between the farming and business communities.
We need to work together and compromise in order to “cut the diamond” and make Summerland a prosperous, inviting town.
Summerland, with its unique downtown core off the Highway 97 corridor, has an opportunity to strive for a condensed downtown with businesses and amenities in close proximity to each other. We would consider supporting council’s plan, but feel that the downtown portion of the proposal requiring removal from the Agricultural Land Reserve in exchange for other land is too large.
We would like to propose a natural division between residential and agriculture by following Aeneas Creek.
Along with this division, we would also like to see a linear trail for walking and biking along the creek that could tie into the trails on Cartwright and across to the Trans-Canada Trail. This could be used by locals and as an attraction for tourists.
As owners of a commercial building, with current rents from the 1990s, we have had increasing costs every year, including taxes.
Although our home and commercial building are assessed at similar values, we pay close to three times as much tax for our commercial building.
We have a vacant space in our building and see many other vacant spots throughout town.
Without a successful tax base from businesses, we are unable to generate the capital to keep the infrastructures of this town going.
This tax burden will have to move onto property owners and farmers. As an example, will we be able to replace our aquatic centre in the near future?
We should be trying to attract young families who work in Penticton or Kelowna but want a smaller community to raise their children.
The proposed area close to the town core will allow for reasonable development costs to provide residential homes for young families.
We have many friends who are farmers and we respect their views. We support our local farmers’ market and support local businesses.
We also admire the goals of the young people who have spoken up on this issue.
We hope that all involved will look at all aspects of this issue, as it is a very complex issue.
Let’s get together and see some compromise from both sides.
Let’s make Summerland a vibrant town to attract young and old alike.
Linda and Ted Pepperdine