OPEN LETTER TO THE CITIZENS OF ROCKY VIEW COUNTY

OPEN LETTER TO THE CITIZENS OF ROCKY VIEW COUNTY

I was recently honoured that Rocky View landowners and local business people approached me to help them engage with others to create a revitalized vision for the Rocky View we all appreciate so much.

From my perspective, this vision must be an inclusive vision that respects landowners who honor the land’s heritage, beauty, and character and also provides a framework for more people to enhance and wisely enjoy the quality of life Rocky View can offer for generations to come.

My father, a geologist, moved our family onto an acreage into Rocky View in 1965. I enjoyed growing up in Rocky View. As kids, my brothers and I worked for Rocky View farmers and ranchers in the summer and actively participated in community and school events. Twenty-four years ago my wife and I moved back to Rocky View with my own family.

Over the years I have seen many families and businesses come to enjoy the natural richness of life in our County. At the same time we have also seen the City expand into parts of what once was Rocky View land.

Things change. Rocky View has been impacted by change and more is on the way. (Current projections indicate Calgary’s population will double before the next 35 years.) The Rocky View 2020 group is made up of county landowners and businesses who believe Rocky View County can become a 21St century example of inspired vibrant communities that hold true to a lifestyle that honours the land, it’s heritage, and the natural appeal.

If we embrace the future now, in light of Alberta and Calgary’s growth, the people of Rocky View County, have a real opportunity today, to create a better tomorrow for everyone. We are at a real turning point. Fight the future or shape it.

We truly have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to bring people across this large County together in a positive, progressive way to shape a made-in-Rocky View future instead of having one imposed on us.
We have some work to do to realize on a vibrant vision for Rocky View. If one measure of County vitality is land values we are trending it the wrong direction. Land values to 2013 in Rocky View have dropped to the level they were at 20 years ago. In addition, Rocky View County’s own publication, “Vantage Point” shows that the number of development permits issued last year is the lowest it has been in 10 years.

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(Data from AB Agriculture and Rural Development)

The graph is only one indication of the challenges to be addressed.  Many people want additional services and amenities, especially recreational facilities in places like Langdon and elsewhere. Seniors are looking for a range of smaller accommodation choices so they can remain in Rocky View when they downsize.  They want their children to remain in Rocky View but are worried homes for them will not be affordable.

The Council and staff at Rocky View have much to consider. The County is beginning to look at updates to its economic development plan so the tax base can be diversified with development in appropriate locations.  In addition the County Plan will likely be reviewed this year and there is so much more. Rocky View 2020 respects the work of our municipal government and we propose to play a constructive role within the County.

We need your involvement.  If you are interested in knowing more about Rocky View 2020 and how you can participate please check our website www.Rockyview2020.com and contact me.

In order to create a better tomorrow for everyone, we must embrace the future.

Sincerely,

 

Eric Lowther

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