Members of Summerland council and municipal staff were at a meeting to determine the fate of the Summerland solar project on July 13. The site for the project was approved in a 4-3 decision. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)

Summerland approves solar project

Despite community opposition, council voted 4-3 for Cartwright Mountain location

The location of a solar energy project to be constructed on the toe of Cartwright Mountain has divided members Summerland council.

At a meeting on July 13, council voted 4-3 to approve the site at 13500 Prairie Valley Rd., 12591 Morrow St. and Denike Street for the community’s solar energy storage project.

Due to the COVID-19 protocols, only 50 people, including council, staff and members of the public, were allowed in the Summerland Arena Banquet Room at any time. The meeting was also available for livestream viewing online through the District of Summerland YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/results?search_query=district+of+summerland.

The solar project has been discussed for several years and there have been 11 presentations about it.

The project, with an estimated cost of between $6 million and $7 million, would have 3,200 solar panels. The array would have an estimated lifespan of 35 years while the storage batteries are expected to last 20 years.

READ ALSO: Summerland to hold meeting on solar project

READ ALSO: Signatures gathered in opposition to Summerland solar project

Tami Rothery, sustainability and alternative energy coordinator for Summerland, said multiple sites were selected before the municipally owned property on Cartwright Mountain was selected.

The land is in the municipality’s Urban Growth Area but is not considered an ideal location for future residential or commercial development because of its distance from downtown, schools and other community infrastructure.

The site has generated mixed reactions from council as well as from the community.

Members of the public spoke at the meeting, wrote letters and sent in petitions with their concerns and objections.

Petitions alone had 174 names attached.

“It is a lot of money and will benefit very few residents,” said Diane Colman Ambery, adding that this year, as Summerland and the world cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, it is not a time for additional expenses.

“This is something extra that the town does not need and barely will benefit from,” said Lauren Antonovitch.

Ian McIntosh said the land proposed for the site is in the municipality’s Urban Growth Area and represents close to 20 per cent of the property base earmarked for future urban growth.

Diana Smith said spending money of this project is irresponsible, since the municipality of Summerland has a budget shortfall of $3.2 million this year.

Jai Zachary of ElectroMotion Energy in Summerland described the project as “antiquated technology.”

Don Gayton outlined several concerns about the location, including the affects of the location on development sprawl.

Others voiced support for the solar project.

“We should and can help to lessen the peak demand on our supply utilities by managing some of the peak load needs with this project,” said Mike Brandson. “The project is an important step towards Summerland becoming a carbon neutral community,” said Barry Loewen.

Coun. Doug Patan suggested selling the land for housing and using the money to benefit the community.

“I think the solar project is a great project, but not at the toe of Cartwright,” he said.

Coun. Martin Van Alphen said other sites near the Cartwright Mountain site would be better suited to the solar project.

Coun. Richard Barkwill said the site is ideal for housing development instead of for the solar project.

“I think we should take advantage of this opportunity while it’s here. If we don’t, this opportunity will pass us by,” said Coun. Doug Holmes.

Coun. Erin Trainer also voiced support for the proposal as presented. “I believe it is the best fit for this project,” she said.

“The prospect of an affordable housing project in this area could absolutely not happen,” said Mayor Toni Boot.

Grant funding covers more than 85 per cent of the total cost of the solar project.

The site for the solar project was approved with Barkwill, Patan and Van Alphen opposed.

To report a typo, email:
news@summerlandreview.com
.



news@summerlandreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Municipal Governmentsolar farm construction

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The City of Revelstoke has launched a community well-being survey. (Contributed)
City launches community well-being survey

Everyone residing in Revelstoke aged 12 and over is invited to complete it

BC Liberal incumbent Doug Clovechok is seeking re-election as MLA for the Columbia River-Revelstoke riding in the provincial election. (File photo)
BC VOTES: Get to know BC Liberal candidate Doug Clovechok

Clovechok talks highways, housing, childcare and the environment

NDP candidate Nicole Cherlet on the campaign trail in Revelstoke. (Liam Harrap- Revelstoke Review)
BC VOTES: Q&A with BC NDP candidate Nicole Cherlet

Cherlet talks highways, housing, childcare and the environment

A health-care worker prepares to swab a man at a walk-in COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal North, Sunday, May 10, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes)
Interior Health records 21 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend

Thirty-six cases remain active; two people are in the hospital, one of whom is in intensive care

Columbia River-Revelstoke Green Party candidate Samson Boyer. (Contributed)
BC VOTES: Q&A with BC Green Party candidate Samson Boyer

Boyer talks highways, housing, childcare and the environment

With local MLA Adam Olsen looking on, BC Greens leader Sonia Furstenau said a Green government would convert BC Ferries into a Crown corporation Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Green leader Sonia Furstenau promises to convert BC Ferries back into Crown corporation

Promise comes Monday afternoon with five days left in campaign

Vernon Fire Rescue Services and Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP were called to a report of an electrical fire at the emergency response centre operated by Turning Points Collaborative Society on 37th Street Sunday, Oct. 18, just before 5:30 p.m. The fire displaced shelter residents who have been set up with services at the Vernon Recreation Complex. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
Vernon shelter residents find refuge in hotels, motels, recreation complex after fire

Electrical fire at Turning Points Collaborative Society’s emergency response centre on 37th Street

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna man charged after allegedly stealing senior’s car

Elderly woman’s car was stolen while she was shopping

Salmon Arm RCMP say residents have been receiving calls from fraudster claiming to be with Publishers Clearing House. (File photo)
Salmon Arm RCMP warn of Publishers Clearing House telephone scam

Police say scammer requests fee to claim sweepstakes prizes

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Osoyoos Fire Department responded to reports of a vehicle engulfed in flames Sunday (Oct. 18) evening at a Lambert Court residence. (Osoyoos Fire Department)
Osoyoos Fire Department knock down car fire near home

Blaze was ‘really close’ to becoming a structure fire

Colin James put on a great show at the Comox Valley Exhibition Grounds as part of the 2019 Vancouver Island MusicFest. But his Okanagan tour for 2020 has been postponed until 2021. (Photo by Terry Farrell)
COVID-19 cancels more Okanagan concerts

The Contenders and Colin James postponed until 2021

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Most Read