Details readily available for Summerland project

Ken Ostraat, Chief Financial Office and Acting CAO District of Summerland, responds to letters.

A recent letter to the editor has asked “where are the details” with respect to the exciting new project proposed for Wharton Street in Summerland.

The development concept was first presented to the public at an open house on March 29, 2012, held by the developers of the project. This open house showed the type of development, number and size of proposed buildings along with proposed uses within the buildings. Ninety-one people attended this open house with overwhelming support for the project.

The project was reviewed in a public meeting by Summerland’s Advisory Planning Commission on April 20, 2012 where it received support. The zoning application received a full public hearing on April 23, 2012 and the rezoning bylaw was subsequently adopted. The details of the agreement to develop this property were advertised in the Summerland Review on May 3, 2012 and May 10, 2012. The draft agreements were available at Summerland City Hall for public review.

The agreement provides $5.9 million in municipal facilities that include a new museum, new cultural facility and significant infrastructure upgrades in the area, in exchange for municipal property and waiving of municipal fees for the project. Independent appraisals of the property were completed to establish a market value. The value of the land coupled with the waiver of fees equals the value of public facilities to be given to the district.

The legal documents include a Purchase and Sale Agreement, a Development Covenant, a Museum and Cultural Facility Space Agreement, a Re-Purchase Option and a Servicing Agreement. The agreements are drafted so no municipal funds are required.

The land value covers all costs for the public facilities and off-site infrastructure improvements. The land will be transferred in phases as the properties are successfully developed. Ownership of the museum and cultural facility spaces will be transferred to the municipality upon their completion.

We agree that a cultural centre defines the downtown of any community and anticipate that the Okanagan Regional Library will be included in this exciting new development. Free standing structures are less efficient than multi-use buildings and complimenting uses of multi-tenant buildings provide a synergy for all to enjoy.

The current proposal is a downsizing from the previous proposal agreed to with a former developer in 2008. The former proposal was also subject to significant public process. This successful agreement is the culmination of over 10 years of study and negotiation. The district is looking forward to the development of this important downtown property and the increase in business and vitality it will bring to Summerland.

Ken Ostraat, Chief Financial Office and Acting CAO

District of Summerland