This week, Rocky View County (RVC) received notice Chestermere has put in a request to annex 25,000 acres of land, including much of the land in the Conrich Area Structure Plan (ASP).
There had been loud opposition from RVC’s neighbours over the plan but we never expected a move like this from Chestermere.
When the first public hearing for the plan was held in May, it was Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi who allegedly threatened, “the mother of all annexations,” so it is rather interesting that Chestermere is the one to put forth the annexation attempt.
While we can only speculate as to why Chestermere and not Calgary is behind the attempted land takeover, we do find it somewhat suspicious.
If Chestermere is allowed to annex the land, this could potentially benefit Calgary.
Because Calgary has a history of absorbing smaller communities, and because Chestermere has a shelf life as a smaller, unsustainable community on the outskirts of Calgary, it is not a stretch to assume Calgary will at some point annex Chestermere.
Chestermere has admitted the city has “no immediate plans to develop the area.” Why then is it determined to claim the land for itself, all while accusing RVC of unsustainable growth? Especially when it already has land available for up to 35 to 50 years of growth.
Chestermere’s current tax base is 95 per cent residential, meaning it has virtually no commercial tax revenue, which in itself is completely unsustainable. It’s the classic tale of the kettle calling the pot black.
The main issue Chestermere seems to have is that RVC is not a part of a broader regional planning agreement with Chestermere and Calgary.
However, RVC has said it is working to develop an Intermunicipal Development Plan with Chestermere and has opted out of the Calgary Regional Partnership because the partnership essentially allows Calgary a veto over decisions of other municipalities.
While Chestermere is in its rights to request this annexation, would it not have been more appropriate for the City to actually consult with the people that live there first.
The move is unneighbourly at best and down right aggressive at worst.