Rocky View administrators recommend refusal of Wintergreen redevelopment

Developer fails to address outstanding issues

By Enrique Massot
The County News

For the second time, Rocky View County administration is recommending council to reject a proposal to redevelop the former Wintergreen ski hill into a residential subdivision.

“Creating a community with approximately 300 residences in an isolated, steeply sloped area, with a high/extreme wildfire risk, and a single internal road that funnels all the traffic onto a single access, without an emergency egress in the area, is not safe,” noted planner Johnson Kwan in a report to council.

On Nov. 28, council ended public input, voted first and second reading, and directed administration and the developer to solve outstanding issues. Council also agreed to consider again the proposal on Jan. 23.

However, after meeting twice with Resorts of the Canadian Rockies (RCR) representatives, Kwan wrote, “The Applicant has not submitted any additional information or new technical studies to address the outstanding technical issues detailed in the November 28, 2017 staff report.”

Nonetheless, Kwan included an option for council to approve the developer’s plan with a total of 57 amendments, “in an attempt to mitigate the outstanding technical matters through policy development.”

Kwan, however, is not recommending council to go for the amendments.

“Any of the potential requirements necessary to address and mitigate the impacts as a result of the development, would be subject to appeal at the future subdivision and/or development permit stages,” he noted.

For example, one of two RCR-proposed amendments would require the County and the developer “to explore cost contribution for Wintergreen Road upgrades at the time of subdivision.”

Instead, upgrades that are required to accommodate development-generated traffic are to be financed by the developer, Kwan noted. However, RCR could appeal conditions such as upgrading Wintergreen Road, which County administrators have estimated at nearly $2 million without land-acquisition costs.

“The appeal would be outside of Council’s jurisdiction,” indicated Kwan.

As a result, Kwan recommended council to turn down the application.

By refusing the proposal, noted Kwan, Rocky View would keep in line with provincial legislation.

“In accordance with the Municipal Government Act (Section 3a), one of the main purposes of a municipality is to ‘develop and maintain safe and viable communities,’” he wrote.

The Rocky View Council will consider third and final reading to the redevelopment on Tuesday, Jan. 23, during a regular meeting that starts at 9 a.m.

Rocky View County’s municipal building is located at 911-32 Ave. N.E., Calgary.