November/20 Bearspaw Beat Submission
Development in Bearspaw
The application for a 600-acre gravel pit (known as the Scott Property), located on Burma Road between Rocky Ridge Road and RR 25, was given first reading. As a reminder, first reading does not mean an application has received any level of approval just that a public hearing will be scheduled for a future Council meeting (date currently unknown).
My motion to table the application until the revised Bearspaw Area Structure Plan is approved failed 6-3, only Councillors Hanson and Kissel supported me. My follow up motion to refuse the application failed 7-2 with only Councillor Kissel supporting me.
Revised Municipal Development Plan granted first reading
Council gave first reading to the revised Municipal Development Plan (MDP), currently known as the County Plan. The date for the public hearing has not been set. The MDP outlines the rules for Rocky View’s future from a planning and development perspective and helps guide how and where the County will grow. It also sets the rules for how to accommodate this growth responsibly and serves as a decision-making tool for Council, Administration and ratepayers. Information can be found on the county website: www.rockyview.ca/new-municipal-development-plan. Please submit your comments.
Council unanimously supports Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) resolutions
Council approved asking the RMA to support a resolution requesting Municipal Affairs to create a dispute resolution process for councillor sanction and disqualification disputes that could be used as an alternative to legal actions. Administration described the current process as “costly, time-consuming and combative”.
In 2017, the Province mandated The Code of Conduct for Councillors which includes the ability for councils to impose sanctions on councillors. However, the Province did not provide any review mechanism. As a result, if the majority on a council refuses to use mediation services, as happened in Rocky View, legal action is the only method available to resolve these issues. The resolution proposes a non-judicial review process that would still allow for court challenges should either party disagree with the decision rendered by Municipal Affairs.
Council also supported Wheatland County’s request to second its motion asking the
RMA to advocate for policies and programs that support the creation of agricultural conservation easements. These easements are voluntary and are tools for landowners who want to conserve their land for agricultural production.
The Alberta Farmland Trust is a relatively new land trust organization and is advocating for incentives to facilitate the preservation of agricultural lands. There is no denying that more and more agricultural land is being used for development. This resolution is a positive step towards protecting those lands.