The current blend of Residential and Commercial-Industrial tax base in Rocky View is very healthy with commercial activity supporting approximately 30% of the tax load.
It is important that growth in the county, fully funded by every applicant, is managed so our tax base is developed in a sustainable manner, providing good opportunities for business and new residential choices, without diluting service levels for existing residents and negatively impacting the Springbank quality of life.
Springbank cannot be successful without Rocky View also being successful.
Don’t ask, then go do something different. Consulting with and listening to residents requires incorporating community decisions into municipal planning, with due consideration for Rocky View County as a whole; knowing we have to respect the overall process.
The Government of Alberta intends to implement a mandatory regional growth management board to centrally control planning and development decisions in all municipalities in the Calgary region.
It is imperative that Rocky View have an intermunicipal commitment to consult and collaborate; acting in isolation has resulted in significant economic waste and long-term debt and carrying costs to Springbank taxpayers. We need to return to benefiting from an effective working relationship with our neighbours.
The City of Calgary has been allocated all remaining water licenses in the Elbow River / Bow River watersheds.
It is critically important that as responsible Calgary-region citizens, we protect the Elbow River watershed; and doing so will ensure that long-term property values are not negatively impacted. Sustainable development requires innovative solutions for Water and Sewer. Springbank has a complex aquifer and the impact of impervious surfaces and overland stormwater drainage must be considered.
Springbank has every opportunity to become a model rural lifestyle community.
Enhancing this lifestyle can be accomplished by leveraging the advantages of Springbank’s rural character, and working with the community to provide a vibrant and truly unique living experience as part of the greater Calgary region.
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A: The current blend of Residential and Commercial/Industrial tax base in Rocky View is very healthy with commercial activity supporting approximately 30% of the tax load.
It is important that growth in the county, fully funded by every applicant, is managed so our tax base is developed in a sustainable manner, providing good opportunities for business and new residential choices, without diluting service levels for existing residents.
In our economically challenging environment, we must also focus some attention inwards to ensure we are using existing tax revenues in an efficient and effective manner, and only expanding services when we can afford it.
A: Encouraging home-based business, with community support, would be an excellent way to add economic value in our challenging times and reduce commute volumes into Calgary.
Smaller parcels of profitable high-value agriculture with collaboration between livestock and organic operations, would support “eating close to home” and “organic” philosophies, generating high revenues from our excellent farming / ranching soil resource – the same lands that provide high quality water for downstream users.
Supporting commercial / industrial business growth, along major transportation corridors and applicant-funded intersections, will provide additional County revenue with relatively low servicing costs. Targeting specific niches like large-footprint robotic distribution centres could be particularly attractive to business.
A: There are a number of areas for social improvements and it is difficult to single one out without being non-inclusive.
In terms of quality of life, interconnected greenspaces, a Springbank core offering coffee shops, brewpubs & restaurants, additional soft recreation opportunities; all these would bring people young and old together and foster a greater sense of community.
An opportunity for aging in place, with more choices for Seniors to stay in the community.
All of these can be addressed and prioritized in a well thought through Springbank Master Plan. Some will be driven by RVC, others will be left for private enterprise to take its course.
A: No one really knows exactly what will happen jurisdiction-wise with the new Regional Growth Board in place. A new era of regional give and take cooperation will likely be required.
Springbank should be built out in focused growth areas according to its Master Plans. This allows for cost effective infrastructure, cost effective engineering, and cost effective soft-services provision – a central theme in Rocky View’s mission statement. New development should be prioritized into planned areas, with phasing. This will also serve to maintain the Rural Character of Springbank.
Consideration should be given for infill phasing and full-build out before taking out viable agricultural parcels. Councillors have responsibility to ensure that the conditions of subdivision are met, and that the admin staff are utilizing and following the frameworks that are in place.
Pushing development along without all bases covered just leads to long-term resident pain, as with the Elbow Valley West development and their sewage issues.
A new era of cooperation is required, but we must ensure that the rural character of Rocky View is maintained.
Commercial development must make sense for the rural setting. Its challenging to try to put city-style malls and city-style business out in the country. For example lack of public transit to access certain types of workers can be a hurdle.
We should not be competing with the City for their core business, but there is lots of opportunity for business that makes sense in the low-cost rural setting. Economic development is just not for development’s sake, but is rather a means to an end of a higher quality of life for our rural lifestyle for all Rocky View Residents.
Effective membership on the new Regional Growth Board - More collaborative and consultative - Seek out Best Practice and opportunities for synergies - EXAMPLE: We want potable water and regional sewers to protect our delicate water table – perhaps we offer soft opportunities like linkages in the walking/cycling paths as part of being good neighbors. Acting in isolation has resulted in significant economic waste and long-term debt and carry costs to Springbank taxpayers.
It is a legitimate concern. There are three facets to this discussion: Water Supply; Sewage; Stormwater Management.
The Province prefers a regional water and sewage solution from centralized facilities within the city. Economies of scale, service levels, public safety, arguments prevailing.
Developments must be setup so in the future the residents are responsible for tie-ins when they are available. Monies could be arranged to be held in reserve for this in trust.
Post-development has to remain substantially similar to pre-development. Both in terms of Flow Rate and Volume. Wetland preservation is important for effective surface conveyance for storm water management.
Drainage in the watershed is interconnected like a chain. Upstream has to follow the rules. Downstream has to not modify existing drainages.
County could look at easements for overland conveyance to fix past mistakes they may have made, with funding by:
- future cost contributions
Doing so will ensure our long-term property values are not negatively impacted. We have the backing of many studies and a framework in place for planning and development. In the past we haven’t always followed it. This has to change. Sustainable development will require innovative solutions for water, sewer, and Storm Water Management that may involve more technology than we are accustomed to.
Bingham Crossing is exactly on the apex divide of the Bow / Elbow Watershed. The bulk of the runoff will head to the Elbow River from that property. Given all the water table issues of the residents downstream along the surface conveyance drainage routes - it is absolutely critical that they get this right and to the satisfaction of the regulators.
To do otherwise would be a travesty with the potential to incur massive flooding and personal damages costs to many residents downstream. We only have to look at the Storm-Water management that was built at Elbow Valley West for an example of how poor and rushed through development can result in long term pain and potential civil lawsuits at resident’s expense.
Centralization of county services can provide a long-term operational savings for the county, fulfilling the Rocky View mission statement to provide county services in a cost-effective manner.
Debt = Investment. With investment comes an expectation for an ROI, paying back the debt and earning a net positive gain. Debt is a financing tool to Accelerate Growth, deal with unforeseen circumstances and emergencies, or capture an opportunity that would otherwise be forgone. The county debt is well within the debt ceiling prescribed by the Province for its Counties.
Since our debt is the result of a number of capital investments, the issue for the residents should not be why do we have debt, the question that should be asked is where is my return on this investment? And then the follow-on question of what quality of business decision making led to those investments.
Perhaps a more collaborative and problem solving focused council back in the day would have made different decisions.
Policing and Security is a tough area. Currently, as a Rural County, it is the jurisdiction of the RCMP. Reality is city-style high density policing will not work in the country.
Elbow Valley Residents Club explored a 40-hour / week officer in a car for the community, which is a blend of higher and lower density lots with 40% Common Greenspace. I seem to recall a number well north of 140,000 per year. How many of these would it take to patrol the huge acreage in Rocky View, and what can 40,000 residents afford?
Rural crime watch programs can help us help the policing we do have. As with certain crime in cities, it is possible that a small number of criminals are responsible for a number of crimes, and a focused effort can perhaps get it back under control at historical levels.
Fire protection services is easier, the service levels we have are a direct result of the budgeting process. If we want more fire protection then without raising taxes we need to decide where else to cut back in operating expenses.
Integrating with the City of Calgary on better “partnership” terms may reduce our costs in calling out the city crews.
The bigger picture is the whole Elbow River Basin Flood Mitigation.
This is a multi-faceted solution that has the following aspects:
To get this right, we should let the experts do their jobs. Requires science & engineering, and is typically provincially and federally driven.
It also requires a balanced approach to the solution - and some social engineering is required.
Perhaps the best solution will ultimately be a combination. Kananaskis Lakes are man-made, but most folks think they are quite nice in their setting. Upstream reservoir(s) in the Elbow River basin could be a beneficial part of the solution, including aspects for drought and flood. Having a dry dam to be used only in flood event emergencies, and then reclaimed with compensation for agricultural business loss could also be part of the solution.
- We live in an absolutely stunning setting. - Every opportunity to become a model rural lifestyle community. - Leverage our rural character and work with the community provide a vibrant and truly unique living experience as part of the greater Calgary Region.
There is no point in public input to a planning process, if the plan is not followed