When it comes to the Banks Crescent development, Mayor Peter Waterman says Summerland council will make their decision based on the information they are provided with.
That adds up to quite a bit. Council received a number of updates on the development proposal at their April 24 meeting, including a prominent letter from the Freshwater Fisheries Society, who remain concerned about the effect of the development on their water source, Shaughnessy Spring.
The letter, signed by Summerland Trout Hatchery manager Kyle Girgan, details their concerns with development, and the information gathering process they have been involved with as a stakeholder and discussions with project developer the Lark Group.
“Despite these discussions, our concerns for the protection and maintenance of the Summerland Trout Hatchery’s sole water source — Shaughnessy Spring — have yet to be addressed,” reads the letter.
Girgan lists those requirements, which include a contingency water source in the event the spring water quality is degraded, water quality monitoring during and after construction, an erosion and sediment control plan along with environmental monitoring.
Girgan’s letter said their requests and concerns are being misinterpreted, and for that reason, they are withdrawing from participating in further information gathering.
“We are removing ourselves from the information gathering process and we are right now not committing to anything,” said Girgan, adding that the fisheries society remains opposed to the Banks Crescent development as it currently stands.
“There is nothing to commit to, in our opinion,” said Girgan, explaining that they have yet to see any engineering or environmental studies. Those are expected in the near future.
Dean Strachan, director of development services, acknowledged the fisheries society letter, adding the district will continue to communicate with the society at a staff to staff level.
“We will continue to keep them in the loop as to what is proceeding with this, as well as continue to seek their input,” said Strachan.
Girgan also refuted questions about the future viability of Shaughnessy Spring.
“There is no problem with the spring,” said Girgan. “If it wasn’t for this possible development, we wouldn’t be discussing this. I had another year of raising 1. 2 million fish with no issues. The current flow from the Shaughnessy Spring meets our needs.”
The current hatchery was built in 1947, but fish have been reared on the site since 1918, and it remains a vital part of the local and provincial economy, as it stocks lakes throughout the province.
“For every dollar that we spend stocking a lake, the average angler spends $24,” said Girgan, noting the Freshwater Fisheries Society is a non-profit organization.
Mayor Peter Waterman said he is confident the Lark Group is up to speed on the hatchery concerns, expressed in a letter from the developer to the city.
“It was from Lark and they are very much on board with meeting the requirements,” said Waterman.
Council also received a letter from the Penticton Indian Band, noting that the proposed development is adjacent to a culturally important area for the PIB. As such, they indicated an archaeological report is in order.
Waterman said collecting is all part of the process, and why council only gave the first two readings to the proposal.
“We left it there so we have lots of time to pull all the reports together,” said Waterman. Once council feels they have all the relevant information, the matter can proceed to public hearing, third reading, and adoption or denial.
“We are not having a referendum on this and council will be looking at all the information and making its decision,” Waterman told the gallery at the Monday evening council meeting. “We will be making the decision based on all the information we have, which includes community input.”