This was a well-reasoned editorial, with a good grasp of the real challenges and unmatched opportunities facing our County as Alberta grows and Rocky View is squeezed. With great ideas and innovative thinking, we can even do better than was suggested in the editorial. All is takes in an open mind and I offer some thoughts on behalf of Rocky View 2020.
Simply opposing growth on principle, or the premise that it will cost existing residents more, is a closed door approach. To suggest that the only solution is to stop growth and tax commercial development so that these same existing residents benefit through commercial subsidization of their tax base is a self-serving approach that is not consistent with the friendly community building values of people in Rocky View. As taxes increase, commercial development will locate elsewhere.
Why do we have to accept, in the 21st century, that residential development will cost more than the tax base can support? Are we locked into paradigms that are decades old? That does not sound like innovative Alberta to me. New technologies and methodologies are opening opportunities to strengthen our communities and make them even more vibrant exciting places to live, work and raise families. There are already some proven examples of this in Rocky View. In addition there are other win-win, good growth proposals, in front of Rocky View now that are not being considered.
Being open to good growth will help to avoid the risk of leaving parts of our community stagnant and declining. It can bring new amenities and services, such as the recreation facilities Langdon residents are actively pursuing. It can provide the types of housing our seniors want, instead of forcing them to leave the community where they raised their families. Couples starting out may be able to afford to live near their parents.
The fact is the Province and the Calgary Regional Partnership have solid forecasts that state more than a million people will be moving to the Calgary region in the next several decades. Thinking you’re going to limit population growth or stop it won’t work. It is coming. Continually resisting people and families moving into our Rocky View communities just results in a tortured process and strained relationships, and leaves us open to unwanted annexation.
Rather than looking at growth as a problem, we need to see it as an opportunity. We need to be open to embracing new models that balance cost and revenues. Let’s start believing we can make Rocky View an example of a vibrant community providing the best healthy lifestyles in all Alberta, maybe Canada.
Eric C. Lowther
Executive Director – Rocky View 2020