Rocky View Council held a special meeting on Monday, May 17th where the administration and consultants for the Calgary Metropolitan Region Board (CMRB) presented the draft Growth and Servicing Plan for the region.
The plan would place huge restrictions on what is permitted in rural municipalities pushing all growth to two joint planning areas in Rocky View, one in Foothills, and hamlet growth areas. Several projects well into the planning stages will effectively be nullified if the plan is adopted, thereby cancelling billions of dollars in much needed investment and thousands of jobs. Councillors Boehlke, Schule, Gautreau, Reeve Henn and Deputy Reeve McKylor asked several questions on behalf of Rocky View Residents. Questions were posed on issues such as red tape reduction, ASP’s, regional servicing, employment centre restrictions, local autonomy, and many other topics.
Deputy Reeve McKylor asked if the transit-oriented plan even makes sense in today’s marketplace. She pointed out that people want choice, and the world is changing, and this plan is based on 1990’s style thinking. She also hit on a point that was echoed by several of her colleagues that this plan is unfair to rural residents and municipalities.
After the question and answer period, Council went in-camera for a confidential discussion. When they emerged, a few motions were presented and discussed. Council voted 6-2 in favour of a motion directing the Reeve to vote against the CMRB growth plan when it comes to vote at the Board. Councillors Wright and Hanson were unusually quiet during the proceedings asking only a couple of clarifying questions seemingly intended to approve rationale for the plan as opposed to questioning its merit for their residents. Not surprisingly, they voted against the motion, Councillor Kissel was absent. Below is a portion of the motion:
WHEREAS the Regional Growth Plan limits the opportunity for rural municipalities to create new employment areas to support municipal sustainability, economic activity, and jobs for Albertans; and
WHEREAS the Regional Growth Plan prevents rural municipalities from implementing best rural planning practices for economically viable cluster residential development; and
WHEREAS the Regional Growth Plan and the provisions therein significantly increase red tape and expenses for municipalities, which is contrary to the Provincial mandate, and negatively impacts municipal autonomy; and
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT Rocky View County Council direct the County’s Calgary Metropolitan Region Board representative, Reeve Henn, to vote against the approval of the Regional Growth Plan, Regional Servicing Plan, and Regional Evaluation Framework, as presented.
Council also voted to make public a report prepared by Rocky View administration which shows the detrimental impact the proposed growth plan will have on Rocky View County. You can read the report here:
Councillor Boehlke made a brief but important statement before the motions were read in. He stated in part:
“I would like it publicly noted that Rocky View Council is not adverse to regional cooperation and regional collaboration. In proof of this, we have well over 100 agreements that we have negotiated and maintained with our neighbours. We are just not in favor of a central planning Board that hinges on the City of Calgary controlling all economic development in the region.”
In the end, it is unlikely that the CMRB will make any changes based on the questioning. They have already dismissed a round of public feedback that provided blistering criticism of the plan. It will be up to the UCP government to act on this egregious and unnecessary 4th layer of government, and provincial government officials have stated they do not plan on dealing with it until the fall, after the municipal election. The growth plan will be voted on in the next week and although Reeve Henn will be voting against it (and likely the same for Foothills and Wheatland County), it is expected to pass with the support of the urbans. It is still scheduled to be submitted to the province on June 1st.
Please feel free to share this update with your friends and neighbours, and as always, we will keep you posted.
Your friends at Rocky View 2020.