Rocky View 2020 made a presentation to Rocky View County Council on June 3, as reported in the Rocky View Weekly article copied below:
By: Kristen Spruit
While Rocky View County (RVC) maintains it has yet to decide whether it will rejoin the Calgary Regional Partnership (CRP), a local citizen advisory group is cautioning councillors not to drag their heels.
“I think the fact that you’re vigilant is good, but I think just hoping (the issue of joining the CRP) is going to go away is a risky posture,” said Eric Lowther, executive director of Rocky View 2020, at a meeting on June 3.
Rocky View 2020 is a society made up of landowners, stakeholders, developers and builders that aim to give a voice to important issues facing the future of RVC.
In his presentation to the RVC Policy and Priorities Committee, Lowther applauded the County’s decision to leave the partnership in 2009, which was a result of disagreements with mandates coming out of the CRP’s land-use plan, the Calgary Metropolitan Plan (CMP).
Among the reasons included a disagreement with the voting structure, which enabled Calgary – the largest population of all 14 participating municipalities, yet one of the smallest land bases – to have veto power over changes to the CMP. RVC also disagreed with growth density targets of eight to 10 units per acre as a requirement for regional municipalities to receive water and wastewater servicing from the city.
While concessions were made during the Provincially-mandated mediation session that concluded in July 2013 between the CRP, M.D. of Foothills and RVC, a consensus was not reached on a voting model that pleased both the City of Calgary and RVC.
But, Lowther said there is strong evidence the Province is moving towards legislating the CMP whether it has unanimous support or not.
“I hear it candidly stated that after 14 years of work (on the CMP) and mediation results, we’ll never get any closer than we are today, so let’s legislate the CMP now,” he said.
“Rather than wait for the inevitable, we are encouraging council and administration to be positively proactive,” he said, presenting amendments that Rocky View 2020 suggests the County encourage to be included in the CMP.
Regarding regional decision making on planning, coordinating and governing regional water, wastewater and transit systems, the CMP states that: a positive vote must contain at least two-thirds of the CRP’s regional municipalities, and a majority of the region’s population.
Lowther said additionally it should include, “the support of a member municipality whose land is adversely affected by the proposed amendment.”
He also said growth in RVC using localized servicing solutions that do not require regional servicing from the city should not be subject to the CMP decision making model.
Lowther said if the City of Calgary rejects the suggested amendments, “it more publicly exposes that the City is more interested in a control program than any kind of regional stewardship agreement.”
Deputy Reeve Greg Boehlke disagreed, saying that “a watered-down version of a municipal stand is (not) the way to go.”
“I think the realization is… that it’s an ill-conceived plan. People should be aware that it’s taxpayers dollars that are funding the CRP… and the City of Calgary dictates what’s going to happen,” said Boehlke.
“It’s a total control for the region and (it’s) turning rural municipalities into a land bank. I think we’re on the right track, as far as I’m concerned, in resisting membership in this group,” Boehlke added.
Councillor Lois Habberfield, chair of the committee, said council has yet to make a decision and all comments expressed by councillors are a personal opinion. She thanked Lowther for his presentation and “insight.”
“It will be considered when we make up our minds what we’re doing,” she said, although she did not indicate when that decision would be announced.