Issues We Face
Throughout my four years on council, I have heard from thousands of you - be it through email, phone call or your participation in the public hearing proess. This has provided me with a solid understanding of not only where your concerns lie but where Council's focus needs to be.
Below you will find information about the concerns that I hear about most.
Applications for new gravel pits are often some of the most contentious Rocky View Council faces. For those of you who were involved in the Scott pit and Summit pit hearings, you know what I mean when I say that Rocky View needs sound policy around gravel - it is something I have been fighting for since my days with Rocky View Gravel Watch. There is no doubt that gravel is plentiful in our County or that gravel is necessary. However, the intensive, heavy industrial nature of gravel pits means that they must be appropriately located with strong rules around how they operate. Rest assured that I will continue to advocate for good policy for both the location and operation of gravel pits.
Over the past four years, the Council majority has approved a tremendous number of developments despite overwhelming objection from the local residents affected by those developments. This is wrong. Council is elected by you to represent you. While there is no doubt that development will occur, it should involve considerable stakeholder engagement and input – not just as a box-checking exercise but as meaningful consultation. Throughout my term, I have advocated strongly for residents. I have done my utmost to make sure that stakeholders felt heard and that their input was reflected in my decision-making. If re-elected, I will continue to insist that developments reflect the will of the community, are consistent with policy and are good for the County’s bottom line.
In the mid-2000s, the long-term debt was $350 per capita. Today, that number sits at just under $1,200 per person. This is despite Rocky View having the fifth largest tax assessment base in Alberta – something the County regularly boasts about. So, just how have we benefitted from all that debt?
The full extent of Rocky View’s debt and how it will be paid back has never been made clear. The County still has over $90-million to be collected from developers through off-site levies for the east Rocky View water and wastewater infrastructure. It also has over $100-million in commitments to upgrade that system. If elected. you have my promise that I will continue to ask pointed questions regarding the County’s financial situation.
Flooding is an issue throughout Rocky View. When previous Councils decided that Rocky View was "open for business" and began their unquestioning approval of innumerable development proposals, they had little understanding of the importance of storm water management. As a result, the County has a myriad of storm water issues caused by poorly designed upstream development. I have championed bringing some of these issues to the forefront. I have supported improved storm water levies and was instrumental in securing $5.5 million for stormwater improvements in the Meadow Drive and RR 25 / Burma Rd areas of Bearspaw.
CALGARY METOROPOLITAN 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 while working to ensure that Rocky View builds on its unique role in the region.