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  • Writer's pictureSamanntha Wright

ARP is dead, Council supports Interim Growth Plan, Meadowlark Trail approved, redesignation approved


Earlier this year, the ARP was brought to Council for direction as to how best proceed. It was determined that Council wanted more information about the plan prior to making any decisions. Administration discussed the ARP with Council during an information session on July 24, 2018. At that session, Administration presented further information for clarity about the Plan's intent and objectives, the process to date and how it had been received by the public.

On September 25th Administration presented 6 options for Council consideration regarding how to proceed with the ARP:

Option #1: THAT Council directs Administration to proceed under the Aggregate Resource Plan Terms of Reference adopted on June 13, 2017.

Option #2: THAT Council directs Administration to cease the development of any aggregate policy plan.

Option #3: THAT Council directs Administration to re-write the Plan guided by a steering committee.

Option #4: THAT Council directs Administration to develop a Plan that only covers application submission requirements and performance standards.

Option #5: THAT Council directs Administration to continue the Plan under modified terms.

Option #6: THAT Council provides alternative direction.

After attending the Bearspaw Open House at Rock Pointe Church with Deputy Reeve Jerry Gautreau earlier this year, residents made it very clear that they did not want the ARP to be scrapped. They also made it clear that they did not support the document as drafted. Instead, they felt that the best course of action would be to create a committee comprised of residents and industry in the hopes of addressing the shortcomings of the document.

Gautreau and I stated we would take back the option to Council for their consideration. This is what is reflected in Option #3.

Based on the feedback from that meeting and from the many emails I received from residents, I made a motion to move Option #3, to create a committee with the following terms of reference:

4-5 residents;

4-5 industry members (including smaller pit operators);

2 councillors;

2 members of Administration - one from planning and one from engineering;

Committee meetings be held at County offices and facilitated by Administration (to avoid further costs); and

The process be completed within 3 months.

I did not believe that the document required a rewrite, rather it needed to address identified key deficiencies and to see if there was common ground that could be found. After all the time and effort that was put into the document by so many, this seemed the most logical approach.

Sadly, I only received support from Councillors Kevin Hanson and Crystal Kissel. The remainder of Council was not interested in trying to salvage the document. Councillor Al Schule made it abundantly clear that too much time had already been spent on the document, we were “spinning our wheels”. Reeve Greg Boehlke said it was too divisive an issue to reach common ground. In my mind, both of these lines of thinking only reinforced the need to try option #3.

Deputy Reeve Gautreau also voted against my motion. Instead, he opted to move for Option #4 - to develop a plan that only covers application submission requirements and performance standards.

I countered by asking Council consider to Option #5 - to have the plan continue under modified terms. However, there was no appetite from the majority of Council. Instead, Gautreau’s motion passed 5-3 with Councillors Hanson, Kissel and I in opposition.

Gautreau’s motion did not provide Administration with any terms of reference. The only direction provided was to make sure the new plan was completed within three months and that Council would become the development authority for gravel applications, not Administration.

Needless to say, I was very disappointed. All I have ever heard from residents is that

they wanted some assurances of where gravel pits can and cannot be located. It was never a matter of saying no to gravel; it was about protecting those who already call Rocky View home from the externalities of gravel production.


Under the Calgary Metropolitan Region Board (CMRB), all new statutory plans or regionally significant amendments to existing statutory plans adopted after January 1st 2018 must conform to the Interim Growth Plan (IGP). The Interim Regional Evaluation Framework (IREF) is the procedure to determine if a submitted statutory plan conforms to the Interim Growth Plan. Both the IGP and IREF will be in effect for a two to three-year time frame while a comprehensive Regional Growth and Servicing Plan is completed.

There was no concern regarding the IGP and it was felt that the County’s Area Structure Plan review would be able to continue with confidence. However, with respect to the IREF there were some concerns about Calgary’s potential veto power even if plans aligned and were consistent with the IGP. Administration did not believe that the procedural method by which a municipality’s statutory plans are approved had been properly addressed.

As the framework is currently drafted, if one member municipality objects to a CMRB Administrative approval recommendation – the statutory plan must be brought to the CMRB for a vote. Decisions of the Board must be supported by 2/3 of the member municipalities. Administration believed that this makes the approval process arduous and felt it would level the playing field more if the process was geared towards getting 2/3 of the population to refuse rather than support Board decisions.

As such, Administration recommended the following amendment:

i. The objecting municipality must give reasons for their objection related to the Interim Growth Plan.

ii. The objecting municipality must make the motion with respect to the statutory plan they have objected to. They can move to approve the Plan or refuse the Plan. A refusal motion would require 2/3 of the member municipalities with 2/3 of the region’s population to vote to refuse.

Council chose to accept Administration’s recommendation and support the terms of reference for the IGP and those of the IREF with the amendments noted above.

Note: the County’s amendments were rejected by the Board at the October 4th CMRB meeting. It will remain as originally drafte

MEADOWLARK TRAIL APPROVED IN DIVISION 6 The development of a trail for non-motorized recreational use (the Meadowlark Trail) in Division 6 was approved 8-0. Councillor Kamachi was absent.

The trail consists of 77 acres of land within the former CP Rail right-of-way, spanning 10 km from Irricana to Beiseker. There were over 100 letters of support, however, the majority of these letters came from those who do not reside in the county rather neighbouring communities of Irricana and Beiseker. Those in opposition were landowners from Rocky View whose properties backed along the trail.

Those in support discussed the need for increased outdoor recreational opportunities. They believed the path would be a great way to create community and provide connectivity by continuing the Trans-Canada Trail. They also asserted that an increased use of the pathway would make the area safer by deterring rural crime and removing cyclists and pedestrians off County roads.

Those in opposition did not oppose the trail per se, they wanted to ensure that all potential negative impacts were acknowledged. Their concerns included the following: the need for proper fences to keep unwanted people/animals off their property; the creation of sufficient parking areas for trail users; the need for proper enforcement and maintenance protocols; and, the ability for improved access for emergency vehicles.

The trail will be maintained by the Meadowlark Trail Association through the Alberta TrailNet Society with funding coming from the Province. They insisted that no monies would be required of the County at this time. The society acknowledged the concerns raised by those in opposition and stated they would be willing to work with them to ensure they were addressed.

BOUNDARY ADJUSTMENT GRANTED TO DIVISION 8 PROPERTY A boundary adjustment of 1.36 acres was approved unanimously in Bearspaw. When the applicant went to sell his property, he was approached by his neighbour to purchase the rear most section.

While the application was approved, the land transfer will not occur until the application receives subdivision approval. This means that the taxes on the 1.36-acres will continue to be paid by the current owner.

One of my concerns was that the 1.36-acre parcel could be considered a stand-alone parcel. However, I was assured by Administration that such would not be the case. To create a separate parcel would require Council approval under a separate application.

FOUR 40-ACRE PARCELS APPROVED IN DIVISION 7 An application to redesignate a quarter section in Division 7 into four 40-acre parcels was approved unanimously. The parcel was located on Bearspaw Rd close to Hwy 567.

The applicant sought to create four parcels under the new and distinct land-use. It was stated that the applicant had three sons and each one wanted to build a home and engage in individual farming practices on each parcel. One was going to raise sheep, one raise horses and the other wanted to keep bees. The new and distinct clause allows for ranch and farm parcels to be rezoned Agricultural holding so long as an identified agricultural use is provided.

20-ACRE PARCEL IN DIVISION 4 HELD AT THIRD READING An application to create a 20-acre parcel with a 20-acre remainder was held at third reading. Councillors Kevin Hanson, Crystal Kissel and I were in opposition.

The land was zoned Ranch and Farm and the application want to have the lands designated Agricultural Holdings. The applicant stated that the land division was to enable her son to purchase her property and keep the additional piece should she decide to move back to the property in a few years.

The lands were located in the city of Calgary’s identified growth corridor and the city had opposed the application based on it being inconsistent with the intent of the Rocky View/Calgary Intermunicipal Development Plan. The application did not meet the definition of a first parcel out nor could it be considered under the new and distinct land use. To exercise the new and distinct clause, additional subdivisions must demonstrate a new and distinct agricultural operation. This applicant did not do this.

ELBOW VALLEY WEST RECEIVES FUNDING FOR WASTEWATER SERVICING On July 10, 2018, Council passed a resolution authorizing Administration to enter into the Master Servicing Agreement with the City of Calgary to provide wastewater servicing to residents of Rocky View County. To fund the construction and completion of this, a budget adjustment of $60,000.00 was unanimously approved by Council.

DIVISION 9 ROAD RENAMED Council voted unanimously to approve an application to rename Range Road 25A in Division 9. The application was submitted in an effort to help alleviate confusion related to addressing for first responders in the Madden area.

The application was circulated to area landowners with no objection. As a result - Range Road 25A will now be known as Township Rd 285A.

COUNTY APPOINTS MNP LLP AS EXTERNAL AUDITOR The appointment of MNP LLP, the County's previous auditors expired with the completion of the 2017 year-end audit. Administration posted a request for proposal on the Alberta Purchasing Connection (APC) in June 2018. An evaluation was completed on 5 proponents. Based on the evaluation, Administration recommended that MNP LLP be appointed for 5 years as the County's external auditor. Council was unanimous in its approval.

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