If you’re interested in digging into the details, here are some background documents that will keep you busy! Below the list is some information on the Urban Growth Strategy.

What is an Urban Growth Strategy?

An urban growth strategy (UGS) sets out the urban growth boundary (UGB) for a municipality. It determines the area within which a municipality grows and how it develops. The UGS is used by local governments as a guide to zoning and land use decisions. An urban growth boundary is one of the tools used to promote the efficient use of land, community facilities and services. UGBs provide clarity for businesses, residents and local governments about where to invest in the infrastructure (such as roads and sewers), needed for future development.

The current growth strategy was adopted in 2008 as part of the Official Community Plan (OCP) and included the District’s first urban growth boundary. It directs growth to the Prairie Valley area and primarily includes the property that was intended to form the Summerland Hills Golf Resort, which has since been abandoned.

The Urban Growth Strategy affects key issues and challenges such as:

  • The availability of funding for services and municipal infrastructure like water and roads. That’s because Summerland has a large geographic area to service, but a small tax base to draw from.
  • The kind and number of affordably priced housing for current residents and for those who might work in the community but can’t afford to live here.
  • The District’s commitment to becoming a more sustainable community with a smaller carbon footprint. This involves our climate action plan that outlines ways to reduce the District’s carbon emissions through creating a more walkable and compact community.
  • The type, location and look and feel of future residential development.
  • The relationship between urban development and local farmland.
  • The use of land and other incentives to encourage economic growth and local jobs.

What are the key questions in Summerland’s Urban Growth Strategy Review?

Through the new Urban Growth Strategy Summerland residents can share priorities and visions on questions related to:

  • Whether urban areas growth will be focused on expanding outwards or on a smaller area, emphasizing infill or multi-family housing
  • Which areas in the District might be suitable for expansion and which areas should remain free of development
  • What values around economic development, environmental impact and community character should guide decision-making
  • What trade-offs and compromises might be needed to achieve the community’s priorities and goals

What are the challenges?

One of the primary challenges underpinning growth strategy development is Summerland’s large service area, combined with a small population base from which to draw taxes and resources. As a small municipality Summerland requires some growth to maintain the full range of services that it provides, and is dealing with an infrastructure deficit, with roads and water mains in need of repair.

 What has Summerland already done to address questions of growth and development?

The current Official Community Plan growth management strategy

The 1996 and updated 2008 OCP both recognize the importance of preserving agricultural lands while also ensuring that new growth will not burden the Summerland community with requirements for extensive servicing improvements.

Current District objectives related to growth are to:

  1. Establish clear limits to growth.
  2. Promote infill development and selective intensification of land uses within existing urban areas being respectful of ecological values.
  3. Continue to preserve farmland and maintain the designation of such lands for long-term agricultural use.
  4. Enhance and retain the Downtown as the commercial focal point of the community and avoid visible highway development.
  5. Embrace complementing tourist commercial uses within designated areas.
  6. Enhance and continue to accommodate, through more efficient use, future industrial uses in established industrial areas.
  7. Ensure that new development does not negatively impact pre-existing neighbouring uses and recognizes natural area values.