January Bearspaw Beat submission
In case you hadn’t noticed, we are in the final year of this Council’s four-year term. Regardless of whether all nine current councillors run again, after October 2021 only seven councillors will remain for the new seven divisions. The volume of policy reviews and the number of large development applications will make 2021 a busy year, especially for Bearspaw residents.
As many of you are aware, the Lehigh Hanson public hearing was scheduled for December 22nd. However, due to rising COVID numbers, the County office was closed in early December with all public hearings rescheduled to the new year. As of writing this, no date has been set but I was advised it would be in mid-January. Administration is working to provide remote participation for public hearings while COVID restricts activities.
Many of you south of the 1A have recently been circulated for comments regarding the Ascension application on the southwest corner of Hwy 1A and 12 Mile Coulee. This public hearing is scheduled for spring 2021. The Damkar lands’ application for seniors-oriented housing is also coming forward. The date for its public hearing is anticipated in the first half of 2021.
The public hearing for the new Municipal Development Plan is scheduled for January – this is the over-arching policy guide for development in Rocky View and will replace the County Plan. As well, the Bearspaw Area Structure Plan is set to come before Council in the third quarter of 2021. The BASP provides the framework for future land use in the Bearspaw area. If you have ideas about how our community should develop, from housing types to gravel pit location to regional commercial capabilities, it is critical that you participate in the process. Information on all the abovementioned projects can be found at www.rockyview.ca.
In early December, Council held its budget meetings. Because of the forecasted drop in assessment value, the County’s 2021 tax revenues are projected to be $20 million less than in 2020. In recognition of tough economic times, Administration presented a budget that would have provided a 0% tax increase. However, after much debate on some of the proposed cuts to services and their potential impacts, Council settled on a 0.5% increase.
As part of the 2021 capital budget decisions, Administration identified projects for the remaining $10 million available in 2020’s Provincial grant funding. I am pleased to say that, pending provincial approval, Bearspaw will receive $5.5 million of that allotment. $5 million for the initial phase for the Meadow drive flooding solution and $500k to alleviate flooding in the Range Road 25/Burma Rd area – both long-standing and much overdue projects.