Banks Crescent project

The Banks Crescent project keep chugging along even though almost a third of the electorate has signed a petition against it. Why? It sounds nice, age in place! Buy a condo, then when you need more help there’d be care beds. Out of 424 condos, how many care space would there be? When would they be built?

We heard: “It all depends on market conditions.” About 59 care spaces was the last retort. When? No exact answer. These 424 condos would be in a gulch with red zone all around, built on land that is potentially unstable. The previous owner said that two landslides occurred there when irrigation pipes above the property leaked. With our changing, unpredictable climate what could happen if we get torrential rains? Much of that land is composed of glacial silt. A UBC geology paper declared that glacial silt is “intrinsically collapsible”.

Most of the people who are in favour of the Banks Development have not lived here for a long period. I have and I’ve seen two catastrophic collapses in lower town in the early 1970s and 1990s. One killed the man who had fixed my radio the week before. Houses across the road were pushed off their foundation, some were wrecked. The road (Arkell) behind the sewer plant collapsed massively a while ago. We used to hike on the nice trail in Zimmerman’s Gulch but the surrounding banks collapsed and orchard trees fell into the abyss so  you can’t really hike there anymore. There was a cliff that collapsed south of Crescent Beach this summer and there are numerous sinkholes in our town, on Penticton’s West Bench and on the Naramata bench-land. There have been some collapses along highway 97, one near Peachland not so long ago, one between Summerland and Penticton a while ago. 

Monday, Oct. 23rd, the Council talked about liability regarding Banks Crescent, and couldn’t seem to agree on who would be liable if there were a slippage. Would the geotechnical engineer be liable? He would not have enough insurance to cover a big mistake. Could the municipality be on the hook? Our CAO admitted that we Summerland residence would face charges. When you consider six-storey buildings potentially slipping, costs to us taxpayers could be enormous. I seem to remember that North Vancouver was socked with a big bill for a slippage in the past. Parts of Tuscan Terrace are apparently slipping according to a constructor I know who has inspected his friend’s home and heard from others there. The owners of those slipping residences have no recourse, no way to sue anyone. The builder is long gone. I was told that a geotechnical study was done of that land before Tuscan Terrace was built. Some other potential costs to us taxpayers were mentioned at Wednesday’s meeting. Roads would have to be widened and strengthened to accommodate heavy equipment and extra traffic. We’d need different fire fighting equipment with ladders that could reach six storeys, also aerial equipment and firefighters trained to use this equipment. We’d need hydrants with enough pressure to reach above six storeys. The costs for fires were not mentioned at the past meeting. It makes much of the town angry that a developer can come and threaten the existence of BC’s oldest Fish Hatchery. The location of the development is simply wrong. 

Lark has not proven that it can supply water of the same consistent chemistry and temperature as Shaughnessy Spring, he suggested using one of Summerland’s two existing water licenses to take water from the lake. But our lake water does not have the same chemistry or a consistent temperature. What would be the costs of supplying correct replacement water in perpetuity if the spring can’t be used? Summerland might need that water license in the future. Banks Crescent does not fit the OCP because of its location far from our town’s centre. I wouldn’t want to be stuck there if I couldn’t drive, hillside walking is steep.

Well, my cup of tea has been drained. Thanks for sharing by reading my written thoughts. Now what? It’s not like British dramas. We haven’t solved the problem yet.

Marilyn Hansen

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