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Dozens speak on land swap

 

It was their last chance to formally let Summerland council know what they think about a proposed land swap.

Several hundred people took that opportunity at Tuesday night's public hearing at the Summerland Secondary School gym.

The controversial land swap would see just over 80 hectares of farmland removed from the Agricultural Land Reserve and 90 hectares of land farther out of town, in West Prairie Valley, swapped in.

Members of 'Stop the Swap' believe the municipality is trying to take away some of the best farm land from the Agricultural Land Reserve and replace it with land of a lesser quality.

According to organizers, 39 people spoke at Tuesday's public hearing and only one was in favour of the proposal.

"Tonight left no doubt about how Summerlanders feel. Sentiment in this town is to leave the ALR alone," says Stop the Swap organizer, Erin Carlson.

"We heard more great arguments and many pleas for council to start listening to what the citizens keep saying. Now, it's up to them to do the right thing."

Council has already given first reading to the land exchange bylaw which triggered the public hearing.

A decision is expected when council meets again Monday night.

Because the public hearing is now closed, councillors are unable to take in new information or speak publicly about the specifics of the bylaw until after a vote has been taken.

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