Calgary developers want Rocky View to relax development rules
By Enrique Massot
County News Online
In a series of meetings, they plan “to give voice to community issues important to the future development of Rocky View County,” noted Eric Lowther, executive director of Rocky View 2020 in a posting.
The rules developers want to change are contained in Rocky View’s main development document—the County Plan, approved last year.
“The existing County Plan focuses on restricting the level of growth,” noted Lowther in another posting in RV 2020’s website.
Lowther was hired by RV2020 following an unsuccessful bid for a seat in council representing Bearspaw in the 2013 municipal election. Lowther’s election contributions, mainly from developers, reached an all-time record for Rocky View: $30,000.
A draft County Plan calling for moderate growth followed closely public advice expressed in 1,542 responses to an online survey and a workshop, and the views of 200 residents, developers and consultants participating in seven workshops held across the County.
However, before its approval, developers began lobbying for removal of restrictions in the County Plan. Among nine changes, they want the term “moderate” for residential growth gone as well as a 10,000-cap for hamlet population.
During council last year’s consideration of the County Plan, Coun. Greg Boehlke presented—as his own—a list of amendments virtually identical to the one RV 2020 continues to advocate and has posted in its website.
Click to see Coun. Boehlke’s changes
“Residential growth should be driven by market demand,” said Greg Boehlke, who emerged as the biggest foe of the County Plan as drafted at the time. Boehlke’s electoral division 6 encompasses the northeast quadrant and is the most rural in the County.
Those amendments did not pass. As a result, since approval of the County Plan, the group has been advocating for “major” changes when council conducts an annual review of the County Plan.
Who founded Rocky View 2020
While Rocky View 2020’s website does not list the identity of its board of directors, their names surfaced in legal documents submitted to Rocky View and posted in the County’s agenda prior to a presentation.
Guy Buchanan of Co-Star Consulting, who represents a Western Securities 1,500-acre project on Highway 8 in west Rocky View is one director.
Lawyer and capital venture investor Andy Crooks, president of the Glenbow Ranch Park Foundation, is another RV2020 director who has been lobbying for development on agricultural lands near the park.
Other directors are Garett Wohlberg, senior manager with Qualico Communities, Ron Renaud and Paul Douglas with Springbank’s Bingham Crossing, and Riaz Choudry, VIP Development Group of Companies.
With the exception of Choudry who is based in Edmonton, RV2020 directors are Calgary-based.
After conducting a first meeting in Balzac on Sept. 3, RV2020 will hold the following meetings, for members only:
Sept 17 – Wednesday Night. 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm – Chestermere Rec Centre Lounge
Sept 20 – Saturday morning. 9:00 am to 10:30 am – Bearspaw Lions Club Hall
Sept 27 – Sat morning. 9:00 am to 10:30 am – Old Springbank Community Hall (Lions)