Opinion: Attack on regional planning misleading

By Enrique Massot
County News Online

A recent opinion column published in the Calgary Herald Sept. 15 offers a unique insight into the development industry’s lobbying tactics.??????????????

The piece, signed by Bruce McAllister as former MLA for Chestermere-Rocky View, argues against the provincial government’s plans to reinstate regional planning in Alberta—making it mandatory in the Calgary area.

McAllister, who omitted to disclose a current paid position in a developers’ lobby group, supported his opinion with several inaccurate statements. He announced that Bill 21 (the Modernized Municipal Government Act) that will update the legislative framework for municipalities would:

  1. Implement centralized planning reducing municipal autonomy
  2. Eliminate competition
  3. Increase the size of government

Claims 1 and 2 are plain wrong.

Let’s consider the first point—centralized planning. There is no such thing in the books. Individual municipalities will continue to do their own planning. Growth management boards, however, will “address land-use planning, servicing of growth, regional service delivery, cost sharing, and dispute resolution.

That is, there will be a regional plan, and the board should ensure compliance. Regional planning’s most useful feature would be preventing inappropriate, parasitical development—that is, development that takes advantage of the proximity of an urban centre but without paying the equivalent land costs, development levies and urban taxes. That should back residents who have been fighting tooth and nail—more often than not unsuccessfully—against invasive, urban-like development in the countryside.

Secondly, eliminate competition. How? There will always be Calgary for those wanting to live near all the services and amenities of a large urban centre. Smaller cities such as Airdrie or Chestermere, towns such as Cochrane, villages and hamlets all the way to country residential will continue to provide settings to suit all tastes. Minimum urban density requirements are given as averages, leaving room for diversity of housing types.

In his op-ed, McAllister also states that a growth management board would not have allowed Rocky View to approve the CrossIron Mills mall in Balzac citing “the cost of servicing and water availability as reasons.”

“Instead of duplicating costly services, municipalities should work together.” Danielle Larivee, Alberta Municipal Affairs minister

That, indeed, would have spared Rocky View taxpayers from becoming guarantors of a debt that remains nearly $60-million debt after originating in 2005, when Rocky View decided to defy Calgary and build its Made-in-Rocky View water and sewage infrastructure to support the mall. A year earlier, Calgary had proposed Rocky View to provide water and sewer for Balzac at a cost estimated at about $30 million. Rocky View chose to go on its own—and ended up spending way over $100 million for a system that will soon need upgrading—at additional costs.

“Instead of duplicating costly services, municipalities should work together to deliver more effective, efficient services to their communities,” wrote minister of Municipal Affairs Danielle Larivee in a rebuttal published by the Calgary Herald Sept. 17.

What McAllister calls “competition” and “establishing a great revenue source,” was in reality a risky venture in which Rocky View’s taxpayer-backed credit financed water and sewer in the countryside so that a mall could attract Calgary customers while saving on land costs, development fees and business tax. Developers’ levies have so far fell short of paying back the County for its investment as originally planned.

Tangible benefits for Rocky View residents? Increased tax revenue, officials claim. However, Rocky View never published numbers on the additional tax benefit less related planning and development expenses, as well as the cost of additional municipal services.

Thirdly: Increasing the size of government: Growth management boards will be formed by elected officials of the municipalities involved—not by NDP appointees as McAllister suggested. There may be some administrative staff required, but hey—what has been the cost to taxpayers of decisions such as Rocky View’s servicing Balzac, most of which is still paying interest after over 10 years? The County’s rejection of regional planning also means rejection of regional servicing in favour of the use of sewage stand-alone systems that require means such as spraying of nearby fields to get rid of treated effluent.

McAllister cunningly summons ominous Soviet-era terms such as “central planning” in an effort to depict with dark tones the regional planning initiative.

Again, he omits to mention an example of regional planning that is already working next door.

The Capital Region Board has represented 24 municipalities in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region since 2008 on issues of growth, transportation, housing and regional services. A regional sewage system has been servicing 13 municipalities and over 200,000 residents in the Alberta Capital Region since 1985.

Further, regional planning in the Calgary region had been in place for some 40 years before the Klein government dumped it in the mid-1990s, a story well documented in detail by former Calgary Herald reporter David Climenhaga in Death and Life of Regional Planning in the Calgary Area.

Lastly, McAllister could have made readers a favour by disclosing his current job as Executive Director of Rocky View 2020, a developers’ lobby group in Rocky View County.

McAllister is the only visible head of the organization, which presents itself as a “not-for-profit community advisory organization” and was created by Calgary-based developers with large projects in Rocky View County. However, most Calgary Herald readers would not be able to know that Rocky View 2020 and McAllister’s agenda are one and the same.

Developers, of course, hate the prospect of regional boards hampering their ambitious projects, and Rocky View is their battlefield. For the last 15 years, the industry has successfully placed friendly majorities in Council so that rural lands surrounding Calgary became their playground. Hundreds of millions in private profits are at stake. Consequences of easy approvals that include chronic floods, failed subdivisions, planning aberrations are left to the public purse to fix, as in the recent example of Cochrane Lake.

The young Calgary region still has a chance to avoid becoming an endless, sprawling and car-dependent collection of suburban neighbourhoods, a path that has made so many other metropolitan regions victims of their own success. Bringing back meaningful regional planning could preserve one of the region’s most prized assets: its beautiful countryside.

Opinion: Development-focused councillors forget about residents

By Jerry Arshinoff
Councillor, Div. 2, Rocky View County

Re: “Sad State of Affairs in Rocky View”, Rocky View Weekly, Sept. 20

Jerry Arshinoff (2)Leslie Fitzgerald’s comments regarding “the state of affairs in Rocky View County (RVC) today where developments seem to be approved at all costs without proper checks and balances” hit the nail on the head. 

The parts of Windhorse Manor in Springbank that are an unfinished eyesore and potentially dangerous are a prime example of what’s going on but certainly not the only one. The same is true in many areas throughout Rocky View.

Perhaps the best example of the current disdain for the well-being of residents is that Council still approves developments where treated sewage will be sprayed on adjoining fields. Even areas that are prone to flooding have had developments approved that will pipe water in but not out. When affected residents complain of flooding, traffic, noise and/or unsightliness, Council pays no attention. Only in a few select cases bylaw enforcement can be called upon to rectify the situation. Staff charged with enforcing predominantly toothless bylaws is overworked, under manned and underfunded.  Even worse, Council has so far supported a Transportation Off Site Levy system whereby ordinary residents are required to subsidize the transportation infrastructure needed for large developments.

“Where does RVC’s responsibility come into play?” is Fitzgerald’s basic question—a question that Council refuses to consider. For over 10 years Council has claimed Rocky View is “Open for Business” and that endless development would lead to plentiful taxation revenue.

Yet what has happened over that same period is that traffic and flooding have dramatically worsened, RV resident taxation has increased more than the inflation rate, the County debt has increased by a factor of 12 and many properties have been severely devalued.

Unless we get a “resident first” Council, there is every reason to assume the same trend will continue and likely get worse.

While located a stone’s throw from Calgary, Rocky View does offers cheaper land, lower levies, lax regulations and a Council majority that falls in love with every developer who walks through the door. Developers who contribute to Councillors’ election campaign expenses appear to be exceptionally popular.

Rocky View does not lack good developers who have created outstanding communities. If only “Open for Business” really meant that instead of “Open for Subsidies,” we could and would have good development. Instead, Rocky View’s attitude that all development is good development is a source of headaches for neighbours and those affected are treated with disdain by Council.

However, there are solutions. Electing a “resident first” Council could begin improving abnormal situations throughout the municipality.

In the meantime, a growing number of residents are told to “pay your taxes and go away.”

 

Resident questions development near provincial park

By Enrique Massot
County News Online

A west Rocky View resident says approving residential development the size of a town in an area predominantly agricultural makes little sense for the County.

“The fundamental question…is why the County is even considering encouraging development in this area,” wrote Janet Ballantyne. “There are many, many other areas…where development would be far more appropriate.”

Ballantyne submitted a detailed letter to County planners as part of public input on the Glenbow Ranch Area Structure Plan (GRASP).

The GRASP foresees the construction of nearly 5,000 homes over 4,000 acres south of Highway 1A, between Calgary and Cochrane.

“Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park was created in 2008, and the existing Bearspaw Plan does not adequately support the park,” noted County planners in a background document.

“GRASP is proposing the equivalent of a sizable town with 14,300 residents.” Janet Ballantyne

Planners also stated that residential development has occurred in adjacent Calgary and Cochrane and that the amount of population reaching retirement age in Bearspaw has nearly doubled in the last decade.

However, Ballantyne questions the County’s rational to develop an area that remains predominantly rural.

She noted the County’s master development plan—the County Plan—calls for development to be concentrated in areas already being developed.

“GRASP is proposing the equivalent of a sizable town with 14,300 residents in what is now almost purely agricultural land,” she noted. “It is not clear how this can be portrayed as fitting within existing settlement patterns.”

In addition, she noted, “Nowhere in the County Plan does country residential development contemplate total populations or population densities comparable to those being proposed in this draft ASP.”

In her letter, Ballantyne also stated concerns about the cost of building new road accesses to Highway 1A, utility servicing, potable water availability, storm water management and inconsistencies with the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan.

Area residents submitted similar concerns at an open house about the GRASP on May 16. Verbatim comments can be read on pages 16 to 18 of a report titled Phase 4 Interim Engagement Summary.

The report stated that residents’ concerns include potential traffic impacts, “the changing nature of the community away from country residential to something more urban; and negative wildlife impacts from increased traffic.”

Click on the link to read Ballantyne’s full letter.

 

 

 

 

 

Cancelled hamlet development concerns councillor

By Enrique Massot
County News Online

A Rocky View elected official wants to know the consequences of abandoning plans to create a fully-serviced hamlet in Balzac West.

In April 2015, Council decided to cancel plans to urbanize the Balzac area west of the QE2 highway after it was determined that costs to provide piped water to the area would be over $120 million plus about $98 million to build a wastewater system.

A motion presented by Deputy Reeve Earl Solberg would direct County Administration to, among other items, inform on the consequences of the decision to abandon growth planning in West Balzac.

If approved, the motion would also direct staff to investigate whether cancelling one of four urban nodes identified in the County Plan “may restrict the County’s capacity to achieve the targeted 3% regional population increase.”

If warranted, the motion proposes to “identify criteria to consider strategic growth planning for a new full service rural community in a location that addresses strategic growth management principles.”

Administration, however, is recommending Council to approve an alternative motion that would direct staff to prepare a detailed report comparing County growth in 2016 versus 2013.

The report would also update the 2011 Residential Land Inventory and show population projections based on approved and anticipated-to-be-approved Area Structure Plans including Cochrane Lake, Harmony, Langdon, Glenbow and Conrich.

Growth scenarios and residential versus non-residential growth components would be also included in the report, which would be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2017.

Council will consider both Solberg’s motion and the Administration recommendation at its first regular meeting after the summer break, Sept. 13.

To read the Administrative report, download the full Sept. 13 agenda and go to page 107. The agenda will be available online until Sept. 13.

Rocky View to lobby for mandatory fire sprinklers

Revenue from new development failing to pay for additional fire services

By Enrique Massot
County News Online

Existing and new Rocky View County residents are paying for shortages in funding for fire protection for newly developed areas, an administrative report revealed.

“This impact on the new residents…is in the form of higher insurance premiums,” states a report to be presented to Council in the coming week.sprinkler

Existing residents, the report noted, are hit by “increased property tax to provide funding to service the newly developed areas.”

The County Administration’s assessment debunks received wisdom purporting that new development automatically increases a municipality’s wealthin fact, additional costs of services are often higher than new tax revenues.

“Revenues from additional development are not equal to the financial resources required to deliver fire protection into the new areas,” Administration reports.

Newly developed areas also lack recognized water systems for fire protection, compounding the shortages, the report added.

The result, Administration adds, is “increased strain on the current model of Fire Service Delivery.”

To mitigate such income shortage, Administration is proposing Council to ask rural municipalities to join in asking the provincial government to allow Alberta municipalities to make mandatory the use of fire sprinklers in all new residential construction.

That would require changes to the Safety Codes Act and the Alberta Building Code, which would put those regulations in line with the the Municipal Government Act (MGA) which “permits municipalities to determine what services it will provide and how it will deliver those services.”

Sprinklers, Administration reported, “will ease the impact on existing fire service by reducing the total time and resources allocated at each fire, significantly reduce the average amount of property loss and have a major impact on reducing risk of fire injury and death.”

Administration noted that home fire sprinklers reduce the risk of loss of life in a home fire by 80 percent and reduce the average property loss per home by 70 percent.

Staff also reported that municipalities in British Columbia that have implemented home fire sprinkler requirements have reduced their fire services delivery costs.

As a result, County Administration proposes Council to approve a resolution to be presented at the November meeting of the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties (AAMDC) to collectivelly request the provincial government to allow municipalities to make fire sprinklers mandatory for new homes.

Council will consider the request at its first meeting after the summer break, Sept. 13.

To see the full report, download Rocky View’s Sept. 13 Council agenda and go to page 100. The report is available online until Sept. 13 only.

Opinion: Councillor rebuts Reeve on voters’ list

By Jerry Arshinoff
Councillor, Rocky View County, Div. 2 Springbank

Jerry Arshinoff

Jerry Arshinoff

Re: “County does not use honour system for elections,” Cochrane Eagle, September 1, 2016

I believe it is necessary to dispel the half-truths in the above noted letter from Rocky View Reeve Greg Boehlke, presumably written on behalf of the Council majority.

The good Reeve assures residents the current election process is secure because voters must “sign a legal voter registration form”. Correct, but he omitted a very important point: nobody checks those voter registration forms before they are destroyed a few weeks after the election.

It is true that the registration forms include a warning that reads, “Anyone voting when they are not entitled can be fined or imprisoned.”

However, there is no process to verify the forms, therefore the threat of fines and prison is hollow and deterrence inexistent.

The Reeve further states the usefulness of a Voters’ list is “highly questionable”. Perhaps he should tell that to those running any of Canada’s provincial elections, Canada’s federal election, the American elections, the European elections and/or elections in other democratic jurisdictions—all using voters’ lists.

From the United Nations: ” Voter registration is intended to ensure that everyone entitled to vote can do so, to prevent ineligible persons from voting, and to guard against multiple voting by the same individual. “

Under “How do I know the voting process is secure?”  Elections Alberta plainly states: “The List of Electors is developed to restrict voting to those who are entitled, as well as to restrict each voter to only one vote.”

The Reeve goes on to illustrate the deficiency of the system used in the rest of the civilized world :  “People move, die, become citizens, reach voting age, get married, etc., all of which impacts the accuracy of a voters list.” Surely he must know there are appropriate provisions for such cases.

Greg Boehlke

Greg Boehlke

“We (Council) also voted to lobby the province to more freely share their voter information.” That is true, but this is a convoluted, lengthy and indirect process meaning Rocky View will ask the Alberta association of rural municipalities to in turn ask the Provincial Government to “more freely share their voter information.”

The resolution from Rocky View will be brought forward to the other rural municipalities mid-November. Alberta Municipal Affairs has been studying possible changes to the elections act for well over a year. Their report is due in early December. Any resolution submitted two weeks beforehand, especially through a 3rd party, is either a less than sincere attempt or at best a case of “too little, too late”.

Reeve Boehlke goes on to state Rocky View “has a long history of clean elections”. This is rather curious. How he would know? Voter registration forms have never been checked.

Council accepted estimations that a voters list would cost $200,000 and thereby refused to go ahead it in the name of financial responsibility. It is very unlikely that implementing a voters’ list would cost that much.

Even if such worst-case scenario were confirmed, Council has approved spending $40,000 to attempt to marginally improve the election system.

Implementing a voters’ list would make unnecessary that expense, therefore the $40,000 amount must be subtracted from the estimated $200,000 cost to prepare a voters’ list.

The resulting $160,000 cost amounts to one-third of 1 percent of the budgeted amount of the new administrative building.

Rocky View’s stance on this issue flies in the face of practice, procedures and governance models of all Canadian provinces and American states, the US and Canadian federal governments , the Europeans , world-wide democratic jurisdictions, Elections Alberta and the UN.

It would be quite a stretch to suggest that Rocky View “knows better.”

Opinion: Reeve’s opposition to voters’ list disconcerting

By Janet Ballantyne
West Rocky View Resident

(Editor’s note) Janet Ballantyne is a west Rocky view resident who takes a keen interest in County politics.

In case County News Online readers have missed it, the current issue of the Cochrane Eagle contains a letter from Rocky View Reeve Greg Boehlke on the voters’ list issue. 

It was surprising that the reeve chose to write to the Cochrane Eagle since he was responding to an article in Aug. 23 Rocky View Weekly.  From my perspective, his letter is so full of misinformation that I feel that a widely distributed counter-response is necessary.

For starters, although Boehlke asserts otherwise, Rocky View’s electoral system—as is true for all municipal electoral systems in Alberta—does rely on the honour system as was stated in the Rocky View Weekly article.  Prior to voting, electors need to complete an affidavit swearing that they have not voted before in the election and that they are eligible to vote in the municipality and division.  Yes, it is true that there are legal penalties for swearing false affidavits.  However, it is also widely known that no one checks these affidavits for authenticity, and therefore they do not control or deter multiple voting and/or out-of-district voting.  The only way they can be checked is by obtaining a court order, which costs upwards of $30,000.

Every expert that has studied voting practices and voting irregularities has concluded that having a voters’ list is the single most effective way to minimize voting irregularities.  Voting lists in properly functioning democracies do not limit peoples’ ability to vote, a red-herring concern raised by Boehlke.  There are always provisions to use sworn affidavits for people whose names were legitimately missed in preparing the voters’ list.  If voters’ lists were as unnecessary as the Reeve claims: Why they are used at the federal level, in all the provinces and in all Canadian municipalities except those in Alberta and Saskatchewan?

I also disagree with Boehlke’s claim that the only benefit of voters’ lists is to speed up voting in busy urban locations.  As I mentioned earlier, all experts on the topic have concluded that voting irregularities are minimized in the presence of voters’ lists.  A voters’ list virtually eliminates the old practice of “vote early, vote often” since it is possible to determine while voting is still going on whether an individual has already voted or not.  The sworn affidavit approach used by Alberta municipalities, at best, provides after-the-fact evidence of multiple voting – too late to determine its effect on the election outcome.

The procedural improvements RVC has promised to make in its electoral processes are better than nothing. However, I still cannot understand this Council’s reluctance to move forward with a voters’ list.  Elections Alberta has indicated a willingness to work with the municipality to facilitate the creation of a municipal voters list.  Council, however, has chosen to insist that they would need to do a door-to-door enumeration (a conclusion not supported by my discussions with Elections Alberta officials) and that this would be too costly and time consuming.

As a resident of Rocky View County, I do not take comfort in our Council’s approach on this issue nor is it an approach that I can be proud of as Reeve Boehlke appears to think I should be.

 

Opinion: Development near park poses challenges

By Samanntha Wright and Janet Ballantyne

(Editor’s note) Janet Ballantyne is a west Rocky View resident who takes a keen interest in County politics.
Samanntha Wright is a former candidate for Division 8, Bearspaw.

Rocky View residents have until Sept. 15 to submit comments about a plan to develop about 4,000 acres to house as many as 14,000 residents between Calgary and Cochrane.

On July 25, Rocky View County released the draft Glenbow Ranch ASP (GRASP), proposing residential development along a narrow plateau south of Highway 1A between Cochrane and Calgary above the Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park.

The GRASP covers 7,200 acres, of which 3,200 acres are in the Park.  Given its proximity to a Provincial Park, conservation of open space is a necessity, which in this case is presented as a virtue.

Currently these lands fall under the Bearspaw ASP, which isn’t slated for revision until late 2017 at the earliest.

Transferrable development credits proposed

The County is proposing to introduce a complicated process of Transferrable Development Credits (TDCs) to encourage the conservation of up to half of the otherwise developable land encompassed in the GRASP.  This would be a “first” for Alberta.  The TDC program is voluntary.  If property owners do not participate in it, the area could be developed to a maximum of 2,700 residents.  With the full use of the TDCs, the population could easily reach 14,300 residents.

The GRASP outlines 10 development areas with differing maximum densities, three of which are being proposed at significantly higher densities than have been built anywhere in Rocky View. The highest density proposed (area G) is almost 6 dwellings per acre with a total population of 10,500 residents. To put this in context, area G could legally apply for city status and will require three points of entry off Highway 1A. This is precisely why the County Plan stipulates that high density forms of residential development should be directed to adjacent urban municipalities, not plunked down in the middle of undeveloped agricultural land.

The County argues these high densities are needed to make stand-alone potable and waste water systems financially viable. Is this a trade-off we’re willing to make, considering that the County will be ultimately responsible for operating these water treatment facilities?

GRASP and County Plan’s population goals

Because of its emphasis on compact residential and conservation of open space, the GRASP claims to be consistent with the County Plan. However, the County Plan only contemplates the approval of new hamlets when they are consistent with the County’s residential population goals of 2.5 to 3 per cent share of the region’s growth, with a population of 5,000 to 10,000 residents.

The 14,300 residents proposed for the GRASP significantly exceeds this upper limit and would account for almost all of the total County population growth for the next 25 years.  When one considers the 10,000 residents expected in the Harmony development and the increase in the population of Langdon from 5,000 residents to 13,000 under its new ASP, those numbers are staggering as these three areas on their own would double the current population of Rocky View.

To claim the GRASP is a stand-alone plan is misleading considering other developers hold significant tracts of land directly north of Highway 1A.  Once the GRASP is approved, it is difficult to comprehend how the County could turn down development requests from the other side of the highway.  This is especially true given that Administration has advised some of these developers to hold off filing their applications pending the outcome of the GRASP.

County-led proposal: potential for conflict?

The GRASP is “a County led and managed project using County staff and consultants hired by and reporting to the County,” is noted in the County’s website. “The engagement, planning and technical analysis costs are provided by a landowner/developer group for the preparation of this ASP.”

Led by the County and paid for by a developer.  This approach raises concerns. Working hand in hand with the developers: Will County planning staff be able to remain objective and avoid conflict of interest when preparing policy for this development?

Transportation issues

The GRASP creates significant transportation issues for Highway 1A.  The County’s engineering consultants are assuming the Province will undertake long-term upgrades and lane expansions on Highway 1A within a timeframe that accommodates the increased traffic the development will create.  Of course, the associated cost to existing taxpayers will be immense. Even if this wishful thinking becomes a reality on a timely basis, the traffic plans do not assume any increase in capacity west of the development as it goes down the hill into Cochrane where the bulk of new residents will likely conduct much of their activity. As well, nothing screams country residential like an eight-lane highway in the middle of Bearspaw.  The impact on wildlife will also be tremendous.

There are many important issues being raised by the draft Glenbow Ranch ASP.  These issues could negatively impact all of Rocky View’s ratepayers, not just those immediately affected by this massive development.  The precedents set, if this ASP is approved, risk ricocheting throughout the County, potentially placing the County in a worse financial position than it is already.

__________________________________________________

You can access County documents about the Glenbow Ranch ASP.

Submit your thoughts on the draft ASP before September 15 to Stefan Kunz in Rocky View Planning Services:

Email: skunz@rockyview.ca
Phone: 403-520-3936
Fax: 403-277-3066
Mail: 911 32 Ave NE, Calgary AB, T2E 6X6 Attn: Stefan Kunz
Please include the file number 1013-265 in the subject line of your response.

 

Springbank resident update

By Jerry Arshinoff
Councillor, Rocky View County Div. 2

Traffic Disruption Notification – Old Banff Coach RoadJerry Arshinoff (2)

Paving Work Old Banff Coach Road/Hwy 563

Location: Hwy 563 from Hwy 1 to Springbank Road
Estimated Timeframe: August 2016
Description: Work includes milling, paving and line painting. Speed may be reduced and flagpersons will be present within the active work zone.  Motorists should expect delays and a reduced number of traffic lanes.  Please respect all posted signage and watch for workers. This work is being done by AECON Transportation for Alberta Transportation.

Old Banff (2)

 

Traffic Disruption – Highway 1

Micro-surfacing, spray patching and line painting activities along 17 kms of Hwy 1 on westbound lanes from Calgary City Limits to 5 km west of Hwy 22 (August 15 to September 30, 2016)
Location: 17 km section of Hwy 1 (westbound lanes) from Calgary City Limits to 5 km west of Hwy 22
Estimated Timeframe: August 15 to September 30
Description: Work includes micro-surfacing, spray patching and line painting activities.  Speed and lane reductions will be in effect with flaggers and pilot vehicles in use.  Motorists can expect delays less than 30 minutes.  Speeds will be reduced to 50 km/h during active work hours.  Work will be during daylight hours only. This work is being done by contractor West-Can Seal Coating for Alberta Transportation.  Inquiries can be directed to project manager Kyle Tait of ISL Engineering @ 403-327-3755 or ktait@islengineering.com

 

Rocky View Complaint Line 

I’m told by enforcement services that quicker responses will result if residents fill out an on-line complaint form about occurrences such as speeding vehicles, construction violations, dangerous dogs or other.

Please notify me about any such issues as it is the only way can keep track of progress (or lack thereof).

Voters’ List

I haven’t given up on my goal to have a voters’ list in Rocky View, in time for the October 2017 municipal election.

Last Tuesday I went to Edmonton to speak with Elections Alberta and Municipal Affairs officials. The results of those meetings are to be seen.

I cannot over emphasize the importance of a Voters’ List as under the current system there there is little, if anything, preventing someone from voting more than once. Council again turned down my request to establish such a list, giving the specific reason that an enumeration of residents would cost $200,000. Whether we need an enumeration and/or its cost has not yet been established.

Be that as it may, the Councillors who are so worried about spending $200,000 to ensure fair elections are the same ones who voted to spend $42,000,000 on a new municipal hall.

Medical marijuana facility

A change of use development permit is being applied for on Mountain View Trail (by the Springbank Airport). A Development Permit means it does not come to Council. It is decided upon solely by Administration.

“Purpose : Change of Use from automotive, equipment and vehicle services to licensed medical marijuana production facility.”

See Medical Marijuana Application

Any comments must be addressed to abryden@rockyview.ca PRIOR to Sept 5, 2016.

RV regulations are such that this is one of the few (maybe only) places in RV where a medical marijuana facility may be permitted. All the rest are considered to be too close (400 metres) to homes, schools, etc. I don’t know if this proposed facility is more than 400 metres from the closest residential land or from the border of Edge School property. If so it would be marginally more.

RV bylaw dictates that such facilities must only be in commercial areas, or which RV has 24. Most (maybe all other than SB) are too close to schools or homes.

I proposed that such facilities must be 1200 metres from schools or homes but my proposal was supported only by Coun. Margaret Bachehli.

Comment: It is interesting to note that RV by-law dictates that such facilities may not be on farms. Why? Good Question. A good guess is that various councillors did not want it in their divisions.  See CBC news “…nightmare for neighbours”

I suggest that whether someone approves of medical marijuana is not the point. The potential issues pertain to policing and traffic.

If you do submit comments to RV, I would appreciate a CC.

 

Councillor’s summer update–Division One

By Liz Breakey
Div. 1 Councillor-Rocky View County

The summer is here in full force, with green fields and a promising hay crop notwithstanding the hail storms that shredded my acres of rhubarb and delphiniums. Liz-Breakey

The recent County Agricultural Tour (which had a sold-out crew of regulars, including families like the Todds who still attend even though they now live in downtown Hillhurst) featured young families creating innovative ag businesses such as malting for the microbreweries that are thriving in the area, free-range hogs, seed potato growing with dozens of different varieties, and many other great new ideas!  Bragg Creek Days was a big success through the combined efforts of both Redwood Meadows and Bragg Creek residents and featured the beautiful new playground on the Community Centre grounds.  The long-planned paving of the Circle 5 subdivision gravel road is proceeding and the Bragg Creek Trails Association is pressing on with environmental assessments and fundraising for Phases Two and Three to complete the Trans Canada Trail from the Hamlet to K-Country.  Please remember their annual fundraiser in the fall and towards this end, the County is working at setting up a new funding entity for Parks and Pathways.

On a sad note, Division One has lost several of its most wonderful residents; they will be most sorely missed.

Jan Kirkpatrick, a business owner, horsewoman, resident of Circle 5, passed away peacefully in June;

Ernie Shewchuk, president of the Snowbirds, also a horse lover and a hunter and a long time Bragg Creek resident on Park Place was honoured at a Celebration of Life at the end of July;

Harvey Buckley, past Councillor, Jumping Pound rancher and founder and President of Action for Agriculture passed away with grace and strength after a full life, including a major contribution to the Alberta Land Use Framework policy formulation. At his amazing Memorial Service, a women in the lineup for coffee remarked “There goes one of the last best of the West;”

Margaret Barclay, owner of Crabapple Cottage for twenty years, Bragg Creek resident, mother of Rayne and long-time partner of Ian Brown, passed away on July 25.

A wonderful gathering of women was held at the newly-restored Round Hall on the Elbow River to celebrate Margaret and her spirit; the family will hold a formal service at the end of August at McInnis and Holloway in Calgary and there will be a local community gathering on September 23 at Redwood House to include those who wish to honour her memory.  Each one of these departed made significant contributions to our community and we shall hold their memories dear to our hearts.

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