By Bob Everett
Former Div. 1 Councillor
I came to Bragg Creek over 35 years ago and at the time there was a strong local community that stood up to Rocky View and fought to protect the area from greed and destructive development.
Those days appear to be over because the present Rocky View Council has just adopted a series of amendments to the Greater Bragg Creek area structure plan that in no way reflect the wishes of the community I have lived in for all these years.
This was all done with the blessing or under the noses of all the people that should have cared. What kind of government would recommend lot sizes as small as 0.26—quarter acre—in a beautiful, heavily treed community where trees and vegetation play such a huge role in managing drainage and protecting the area from overland flooding?
What type of representatives would ignore the kind of outcry that was heard around the community over the architectural style and elevation of the new gas station and then make a motion to allow four-story structures in the community?
These decisions have set the stage to send Bragg Creek down the same greedy development path that Calgary and all its surrounding communities have taken.
Bragg Creek is a jewel in the rough and its unique character needs careful and creative governance. I look at my own property and try to imagine what it would look like with two more houses with garages, driveways, sheds and whatever else is now allowable. Once fire smart principles are enforced, the chance of saving any natural vegetation will be impossible.
During my two terms in Council, I fought hard to get servicing for the Bragg Creek Community—but it was for the health of the residents and the protection of the environment.
We also knew that having piped water and sewer would help reduce overhead costs for local businesses—but that was never the number-one priority. It appears our Council has looked at this opportunity as a windfall for the County, managing instead to make it all about greed and development. Developers and business people will be laughing all the way to the bank as they chop the Community into small pieces and erect buildings that will dwarf existing development.
If the Council of Rocky View understood or cared about this community, they would have had the consideration to hold their public hearing in the community so that they could get a true read on the wishes of the people. Instead, changes to a plan prepared with public input were done at the last minute, without warning and far away, in the northeast Calgary municipal building.
I recently sent out a proposal to the community recommending a form of local representation that was respectful and inclusive of the County—but the idea was quickly dismissed by our local representative. Bragg Creek needs a better form of local government with or without Rocky View and that is more evident now than it has ever been.