Summerland Economic Improvement

You have to decide if I just asked a question or if I just made a statement.

Here’s what I know:

Summerland has a rich history of Canada’s business leaders investing here. From the Rail Road Titans who planted massive acres of orchard lands, to California doctors who owned summer getaways here, to Grape Growing Pioneers, to some of the Okanagan’s finest custom home builders of today calling Summerland home. In the mix we have some of the most innovative scientists working at the Pacific Agrifood Research complex, from which Summerland Sweets was created. But what of today? Well, grapes are clearly where its at, vineyards are flourishing and wineries are in expansion mode.

In addition to the pioneering genius (and hard work) of Sumac Ridge Estates, The Dirty Laundry Group and Okanagan Crush Pad are other industry leaders that call Summerland home base.

There are some notable common threads in Summerland’s history:
– Business Leaders attracted to Summerland from elsewhere have arrived with their VISION.
– The over arching vision has always involved the land. The beauty of the land and the bounty of the land.
– The prosperity vision has always been related to agriculture. The produce of the land.

Today, Summerland is very much moving to the forefront once again based on those consistent fundamentals.
Do not miss what is happening here with some very significant changes that are once again, as ever, influenced by the combination of VISION, BUSINESS & AGRICULTURE in this small Okanagan town.

Summerland is standing at the most important crossroad faced in many, many years. There is opportunity, yes, but in this old world, the other side of opportunity is always risk.

HERE’S THE THING:
The town has an almost completed new roundabout to match the one already built, newly beautified transportation entry points into town, a 4 lane hiway finished to the doorstep, a new RCMP facility, a water treatment plant that is the newest and best in the Okanagan, a twinning of the pipes to improve water delivery, the largest improvement in the Okanagan to its water STORAGE capacities, and the most progressive zoning initiatives in the Okanagan to promote densification downtown, and a zoning initiative that removed land from the ALR to increase the industrial capacity significantly, and is also leading the way with electric vehicle refilling stations downtown plus a bylaw allowing particular electric vehicles on Summerland streets.

BUT HERE’S THE other THING:

Summerland also has downtown building project plans for new library, new museum, new residential and new commercial space with a hoped for starting date that has unfortunately come and gone.
again…and the 2 retail storefronts downtown that were in support of youth have closed plus there are other downtown store fronts vacant, for sale, or lease.

There are a number of major development properties available or sitting vacant including the BC Fruit Packers Warehouse and Glenfir School.

There are development properties sitting unsold that have been in receivership for many years such as the old waterfront cannery in Lower Town (We thought EVERYONE wanted waterfront, right?), but even with the City changing those waterfront houses into parks, the Lower Town Master Plan is still waiting to happen, and we remember the 60 acres of land offered to entice Okanagan College to open here…still nothing there either.

Summerland is at a cross roads. Time to pay attention again. It’s gonna be great, gonna be exciting, gonna be innovative & outside the box…or not.

Summerland Economic Improvement: It all depends.

Patrick Murphy

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