Richard Barss, the Rocky View County Plan Project Manager, told a crowded Open House on Wednesday, May 29, planners have completed their work and Council will now determine the future of the important document which details how much growth will be allowed, what kind of development can occur and where it can take place for the next 10 to 12 years.
Extra chairs had to be set up to handle attendees, the majority of whom had many concerns about the overall County Plan. Many were very concerned that the proposed moderate growth limits are too low and the factual basis for proposing them is flawed.
They also wanted to see more innovative ideas in the County Plan. Many are concerned it will have negative financial impact for on the County, on landowners and on almost all citizens.
The County Plan calls for Rocky View to slow current growth and only accept 2.5 to three per cent of the estimated 500,000 people projected to move into Calgary region during the life of the County Plan. Growth will be focused on existing hamlets or county residential.
The County’s official Growth Management Strategy document, which was accepted in 2009, outlines six per cent as the reasonable target. In April this year, one councilor wrote: “The Rocky View County Growth Management Strategy is the most Important resolution passed by a Rocky View Council in the County’s entire history.”
At the Open House, Mr. Barss acknowledged the majority of public submissions about the growth limits received after the draft County Plan was made public, stated proposed growth was too low. He told the audience, however, that he balanced those comments with feedback received during workshops (which were held about a year ago) before the County Plan was drafted. Therefore no change was made, although the projected number of needed housing units was significantly decreased between the first draft and the final version sent to Council for approval.
At the Open House, Mr. Barss acknowledged the majority of public submissions about the growth limits received after the draft County Plan was made public, stated proposed growth was too low.
Although very few questions were taken after his presentation, audience members explained they believed the Plan was based on faulty calculations contained in the inventory analysis of existing approved development sites.
The Open House also heard concerns that existing hamlets, many of which were initially created because they were grain elevator locations, may not be the best place for additional housing. The County Plan concepts for agricultural land use were also an area of concern.
Mr. Barss said the public can comment and recommend suggested changes the County Plan in writing by June 12th, or they can appear at Council’s Public Hearing on June 25th. Written comments will be forwarded to Council.