CRP makes changes to Metropolitan Plan to "improve collaberation" with counties
Monday, Apr 07, 2014 11:53 am
The Calgary Regional Partnership (CRP) has proposed changes to the Calgary Metropolitan Plan (CMP) in an effort to “continue to build relationships and improve collaboration with Rocky View County and the M.D. of Foothills.”
Rocky View County left the organization made up of 12 local municipalities in September 2009 citing the ability of Calgary to have veto power, high housing density requirements and other issues as reasons for leaving.
In March 2013, the CRP entered mediation with the M.D. of Foothills and Rocky View County to resolve some outstanding issues surrounding the CMP.
The mediation concluded at the end of July 2013 and a mediation report with recommendations was sent to the Minister of Municipal Affairs Ken Hughes.
The CMP was first submitted to the Province in June 2009 and went through a provincial cross-ministry review.
With support from the provincial government, the CRP Board of Directors decided to implement recommendations in the mediation report by drafting amendments to the CMP for review and potential approval this spring.
Significant progress was made involving all parties at the mediation table, according to Barry Williamson, chair of the Calgary Regional Partnership
“I would say that the board feels that this is a continuation of the goodwill that was generated last year when we sat down to do the mediation with the rurals and the city and this is a continuation of us extending that goodwill when we feel it’s the right thing to do to move forward and get the partnership together as a complete whole,” said Williamson.
Consensus to four of the five remaining issues in the CMP were achieved from all parties at the mediation:
• Density and growth
• Provision of regional servicing within CRP boundaries
• Dispute resolution
While consensus was not reached on the voting model, all members of the mediation working group agreed that municipalities should have a voice when land in their jurisdiction is impacted by an amendment to the CMP.
A vote to amend the CMP will require the support of the municipality whose land is adversely affected.
Rocky View County Reeve Margaret Bahcheli said she is “encouraged” that the CRP board has implemented the mediated position.
“I’m really appreciative of the CRP implementing the mediated agreement. It showed a lot of leadership and respect for the process and it is proactive,” she said.
She added the County will continue to work towards an equal vote for all partners in the CRP.
“Anything that weighs decisions by population doesn’t seem democratic,” she said.
“The adversely affected veto vote that we spoke about and are working towards has improved the position of all members in terms of having their voices heard.”
Williamson said he believes the amendments to the CMP are a way forward in improving the CRP’s relationship with the M.D. of Foothills and Rocky View County.
“We believe it is the right thing for the Calgary Region. The door is always open for Foothills and Rocky View to rejoin the Partnership,” he added. “Regardless, we will continue to work collaboratively to achieve a prosperous and sustainable Region today and in the future.”
Bahcheli said the one message she would like to get across is the fact that the CMP was created as an urban document, which makes it difficult to align it with rural municipalities.
“People think the counties weren’t fitting in because of personality issues but it is a fundamental reason,” she said.
“The CMP is an urban plan about building higher density communities to capitalize on combining services and making it less of a tax burden for residents. The counties must take other things such as balancing development with environmental reserve land and agriculture into account.”
“When you are a rural community right beside a city like Calgary that has one of the hottest economies in Alberta, it is about trying to strike that balance with economic growth and agricultural and environmental land.”
Bahcheli said the County will continue talks with the CRP, draw up a report and present that report to council at a future date for councillors to discuss and vote on whether or not the municipality will re-join the CRP.
The proposed CMP amendments will be presented to CRP member councils and the board for review and endorsement in May 2014.
The vote will be reported to the public at the June 17 General Assembly.
For more information on the proposed changes to the CMP, visit www.calgaryregionfocus.com