WESTCON CONCEPT SCHEME AND REDESIGNATION APPROVED IN DIVISION 6
An application to redesignate 126-acres of land in the Conrich area of Division 6 and to adopt the Westcon Business Park Concept Scheme, was approved unanimously.
The Westcon Business Park Conceptual Scheme provides policies to guide commercial and industrial development through three development cells within the Conrich Area Structure Plan (ASP). A concept scheme is a requirement under the ASP and the proposed plan was designed to complement the existing CN Logistics Park.
Administration noted that the application met with all guiding policies and that future
commercial and industrial development is supported in this location. While the City of Calgary had some concerns over potential traffic impacts, they felt they could be addressed under the Conrich ASP’s review (which is currently underway).
COUNTY TO CREATE HOME BASED BUSINESS DIRECTORY
In September, Council directed Administration to explore creating a Home-Based Business directory that would catalog all type 1 and 2 businesses operating in the County.
As was noted in the report, the creation of a business directory aligns with Council’s strategic objective of ‘enhancing transparency and communication’ to better allow residents and business owners to easily access information about home-based businesses in the County and to better gain knowledge on the diversity of those businesses.
The directory was supported 5-2 with opposition coming from Councillors Schule and Boehlke. Schule believed that the directory provided an uneven playing field for those who run businesses out of their homes versus those who operate in commercial or industrial areas of the County as those who run home-based businesses don’t pay the same taxes. I disagreed. In my opinion, there are only certain types of businesses that can operate out of a home, the key difference being economies of scale. Furthermore, we are always looking at ways to improve economic development in the County, so If the County has the information, and businesses want to be listed in a directory, why wouldn’t we make it happen?
COCHRANE AND SPRINGBANK SUBREGIONAL SERVICING CONCEPT
In 2021, Administrations from Cochrane, Rocky View, and Calgary, together with HAWSCO
(Harmony’s Water Systems Corporation), formed a working group to explore opportunities to achieve subregional wastewater servicing efficiencies for the area west of Calgary.
For those who aren’t aware, Cochrane’s wastewater is currently piped to the City of Calgary. Cochrane is nearing capacity for its wastewater output and the County’s recently acquired Cochrane Lakes Wastewater Facility utilizes Cochrane’s wastewater connection. The ultimate solution is to twin the pipe that runs between the town and the city.
Currently, treated effluent from the Harmony wastewater treatment plant is spray irrigated onto the Mickelson National Golf Course. As demands increase, the plant will require a discharge to the Bow River or another discharge option. Due to ongoing discussions with Alberta Environment and Protected Areas, it was recognized that a regional solution may be worthwhile exploring.
Given, HAWSCO’s location, there is the possibility that its current excess capacity could be used to defer the major capital expense needed to twin the pipe while at the same time utilizing available space within HAWSCO’s system.
Administration requested a budget adjustment of $50,000 to be transferred from the tax
stabilization reserve for the technical feasibility study. There is an opportunity to have the
funding covered by a provincial grant, however, Administration wanted to be sure to have the funding in place should the grant be denied. The feasibility study is set to be completed by year end.
WASTE COLLECTION BYLAW APPROVED
In early 2021, the County approved a Solid Waste Servicing Strategy. Administration indicated that a comprehensive waste collection bylaw is required before they can begin to implement aspects of that Strategy.
Previously, the County’s waste collection bylaw provided for curbside garbage collection only in Langdon. Rather than attempting to update and expand that bylaw, Administration determined it was better to create a new bylaw. Council unanimously approved the Waste Collection Bylaw.
The bylaw provides for curbside garbage collection in “designated communities”. Under the new bylaw Langdon, Harmony, and Pinebrook are designated as communities for which curbside garbage collection will be provided.
When asked if curbside garbage collection was operating at cost recovery, Administration’s initial response was that it was very close. However, when I pushed for detail on what “very close” meant, Administration’s answer was unclear and suggested that overhead costs were not included in their assessment.
When pressed about how Harmony had been added to the communities receiving curbside garbage collection, Administration noted that they were currently negotiating with Harmony’s Homeowners’ Association to transfer its contract with a private sector garbage company to the County. After some tough questions from Council about when direction had been given to expand servicing to these communities, Administration indicated that there could be further discussion in April at budget finalization. They also noted that rates for curbside garbage collection would be set later this year when Council considered revisions to the Master Rates Bylaw.
Although I have concerns about designating Harmony and Pinebrook for curbside garbage collection, I supported the bylaw because it is generic in nature, and we will have further opportunities to question which communities will actually receive curbside garbage collection as well as determine cost recovery levels.