CALGARY METROPOLITAN REGION BOARD (CMRB)
The Calgary Metropolitan Region Board (CMRB) was created by the Provincial government to enhance regional co-operation and co-ordination for the Calgary region. It is no secret that there is a pro-development contingent in the County that believes the CMRB will eliminate autonomy and sterilize our lands. This mind-set has been pervasive with the majority on Council. On much of this, I disagree. While some autonomy may be lost when you make decisions as a group, the potential benefits far outweigh the costs. The vast majority of residents’ land use decisions will be unaffected by the CMRB and we will all benefit from eliminating duplication of major infrastructure. Done properly, cooperation amongst neighbouring municipalities allows each to focus on its strengths while working collectively to consolidate the region’s reputation and attractiveness both nationally and globally. I am committed to working with our regional neighbours to ensure that Rocky View builds on its unique role in the region.
The CMRB’s growth plan concentrates high density growth in urban centres where 95% of the region’s population lives – in my opinion, this is where it belongs. People live in Rocky View because it’s not the “city”. The growth plan grandfathers all existing County area structure plans meaning the County can continue doing what we have always done within those areas. Outside of those plan areas, development will trigger CMRB involvement only when it is big enough to be “regionally significant”. To me this means approving development that follows our own policies, has buy-in from our neighbours and enhances the region as a whole – oddly the same things residents expect when their neighbour develops his lands.
What does this really mean for Rocky View? It means we are going to have to play nicely in the sandbox. That doesn’t mean being a door mat. To the contrary, Rocky View needs a strong and credible voice - one that demonstrates adaptability and conciliation not inflexibility and belligerence. There are legitimate concerns about the current lack of an appeal mechanism for CMRB decisions; however, the CMRB recognized that weakness and has already taken steps to have such a mechanism in place as soon as possible. I believe that, since appeals are costly, when Rocky View’s regional neighbours reject our proposals for the same reasons our residents raised in their opposition, Council should be reviewing those plans and having a sober second thoughts rather than automatically jumping to an expensive appeal.
Vote Samanntha Wright for Rocky View Council.