LETTER: Questions raised about solar project

In order to make an informed, decision all information, positive or negative, should be available

Dear Editor:

I have witnessed in the past couple of years of attending council meetings that grant applications for funding have had short deadlines.

Now, is this because the actual grant has a time limit much like the limited time offers on TV or is it because the information has not been presented to council in a timely manner putting council under the gun to make a decision, perhaps, without having all the information?

True, we need to rely on staff to make some decisions but I continue to have several concerns about the proposed solar project as I continue to read reports which, until a short while ago, had not been released for public perusal.

This makes me question why staff have dragged their feet in providing information to council and the public.

I feel that in order to make an informed decision all information, whether positive or negative, should be available.

While the report on the solar project given by staff is informative it is omitting several details.

1. There is no expert opinion in any of the reports that show how the Summerland integrated solar project will result in a significant decrease in greenhouse gas emissions. Why not?

2. Where are the projected savings to the rate payer?

3. The proposed battery storage unit/size appears to be inadequate.

READ ALSO: Summerland solar power project will provide electricity

READ ALSO: Summerland council considers land use at proposed solar site

4. A secondary property was not analyzed for comparison because staff had determined the other properties did not meet the desktop analysis for a solar site. Who on staff decided this and why?

A site recommended by the ‘expert opinion’ in the System Impact and Interconnection Study that “shows particular promise” is site #8, 10900 Fyffe Road.

5. The preferred site is in the Urban Growth Area but district staff have stated it is not “an ideal location for future residential or commercial development due to distance from town, schools, walkable amenities, etc.” Yet one only has to look at West Kelowna on the west side of Okanagan Lake and they have managed quite successfully to build on a rock mountain with steep slopes.

6. It is mentioned by staff that the Dunn Street properties (adjacent to the sewage plant) owned by the municipality and currently held as rental houses, are zoned as Country Residential but within the Agricultural Land Reserve.

Because of this staff determined the land to be unavailable for the project. How about asking someone from the ALC to come visit the site and determine if the site could be integrated with a viable agricultural land use as well as the solar project? Other more questionable uses of ALR land have been given a green light.

7. A public consultation, required by law on municipal owned lands, of 100 people is not a true representation of the community.

Nor is a targeted questionnaire, such as the most recent one at the public open house, a representation of community input.

While I support the green initiative and feel solar power is becoming better managed and certainly more affordable I get the feeling I am being manipulated and misled.

If, as council has stated, they are committed to good governance shouldn’t that also require a comparison analysis of another suitable site?

I feel with limited dollars I would like to see them spent wisely and achieve effective projects.

Mary-Anne MacDonald

Summerland

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