In 1995, then Premier Ralph Klein scrapped Alberta’s Regional Planning Commissions (RPC’s) including the Calgary Regional Planning Commission (CRPC). The RPC’s gave urban communities legal authority to exercise control outside their boundaries. Urban municipalities had a say in what other municipalities did. One of the CRPC’s biggest successes was forcing municipalities in the region around Calgary to adhere to the needs of Calgary’s uni-City policy.
If the draft County Plan is approved as written, development within Rocky View County will be greatly restricted, which will in effect preserve lands for future annexation by the City of Calgary, to be developed later at a density of 10 to 12 units per acre.
To Rocky View 2020, it makes more sense to adopt a County Plan that fosters made-in-Rocky View development that complements the residential product mix within the region. Elbow Valley style product, for example, is not available in Calgary but would fit nicely in any area within Rocky View. Areas such as Springbank and Bearspaw are not doing themselves any favour in the long-term by not embracing quality low density development, even if it doesn’t adhere to current Area Structure Plans.
The demand for acreage style development is dropping as an aging population looks for more convenient lock-and-go style housing. Allowing development that is clustered within a site, will provide significant open space and will enhance the property value of existing acreage development for a variety of reasons. First of all, it doesn’t add more competing product. Secondly, cluster development will bring public parks and trails to the area, as well as local services which will enhance the value of existing development. Finally, existing acreage development may have enhanced value as a future redevelopment site.
Rocky View County needs to keep control of its destiny and modify the County Plan to include development that has a greater market appeal, is financially and environmentally sustainable, and is respectful of existing owners.