The proposed North and South Springbank ASPs have both been challenged by 5 other regional municipalities and subsequently rejected by the CMRB. What will you recommend RVC do with the ASPs if you are elected to council?
As the current plans are over 20-year old, the ongoing updating project should continue. The new council will need to re-establish the confidence of the community, and re-work and amend the ASP(s).
What is required is a plan that will succeed when exposed to the scrutiny of not just our regional neighbours, but also our own residents and existing business owners in the community. A plan that allows for thoughtful build-out supporting our growth aspirations on the west side. A plan that aligns with the final Regional Growth Plan to be approved by the Province, and a plan that has the buy-in it needs regionally and from Springbank residents.
The proposed Municipal Development Plan has been challenged by those same 5 regional municipalities and also rejected by the CMRB. What will you recommend RVC do with the MDP if you become a councillor?
The County needs a reboot of its Growth and Development thinking. The regional economy will not be the same post-pandemic. Retail shopping trends have changed. Recreation trends have changed. Once the development patterns for the region are finalized in the Regional Growth Plan, and once the County gets its head around focusing its desired growth using more collaboration, only then should the MDP get a refresh.
The proposed Elbow View ASP (2,200 acres along Hwy 8) has also been refused by the CMRB. What will you recommend RVC do with this ASP if you are on council?
As a Councillor for the area, I supported referring the ASP back to Administration to work with the developer on amending the plan to be compliant with the finalized Regional Growth Plan (RGP). The RGP is currently waiting for provincial approval. Additional Servicing Strategies will have to be explored as what was originally proposed was rejected.
What are your priorities for Springbank, Jumping Pound, Elbow Valley and Bragg Creek?
Country residential living is very important to residents in (new) Division 1 and 2. How important will it be to you as a councillor?
I live in a Cluster Residential community with >40% greenspace and kilometers of paved and unpaved walking trails. I think it is awesome. We have a common water supply sourced from the Elbow River and a common sewer system tied into the City.
I believe 4-acres or above country residential land-use allow intensive agriculture, or horses on acreages - typical of country living. I believe they are a better alternative than the smaller lot country residential scenario, primarily because stand-alone septic systems become problematic when there are too many 2-acre parcels in an area renowned for its high water tables.
However, I am elected to do what is best for the entire County, with an eye to current best practice in the planning field, while representing the views of residents in my division. As my public hearing debate record shows, I am more than happy to advocate for sustainable country residential housing options that are supported by the community.
As a candidate, do you believe development in west Rocky View County should occur without appropriate water, wastewater and storm water servicing?
Should RVC be front-ending infrastructure costs before development is approved, e.g., west Balzac water and wastewater lines?
Without a solid business plan and contractual commitments – No. This is aligned with my voting record on this Balzac West matter.
With a financially defensible business case to support front-ending infrastructure investment, this might be a justifiable financing option, but a corresponding increase in our expected return would have to be part of the equation. With the new collaborative growth opportunities in the CMRB’s Joint Planning Areas (JPA’s), there are new ways to consider spreading upfront risk and long-term rewards across multiple municipalities.
Levies are not paying the costs for water or wastewater in east RVC but the current Council has been reducing the levies collected. What approach would you recommend to make those levies pay for the development they service?
All the off-site levies need to be reviewed from time-to-time as economic and business conditions change, to ensure that the rates are set appropriately to recoup costs from the new development that benefits from the infrastructure. To the extent that existing residential and business development benefit from upgrades, there is logic in covering some of the costs from general revenues – but those amounts need to be carefully substantiated to ensure that existing ratepayers are not subsidizing new development.
There are three mechanisms to fund infrastructure:
It is not a simple matter, and requires a skilled Administration and a fiscally responsible Council to pull off successfully.
How would you plan to deal with a divided Council, such as happened with the current Council?
From my experience being on the short end of the stick in the current council, I believe there should be stronger leadership from both the Reeve and the CAO that is focused on finding ways for people with what can be widely differing views to work together smoothly.
This requires everyone to respect and actively listen to each others’ opinions. That was missing on the current council. There may be a role for some training for the new council to ensure that it has better skills in this area. Trust and respect are not an automatic given - but are earned through one’s actions.
As a councillor, how would you approach the balance of commercial vs. residential development in (new) Divisions 1 and 2?
Not every ASP needs the same balance. Overall the county is looking for a healthy balance. Our target is 30% commercial assessment, 70% residential.
The bulk of commercial is on the East Side. The bulk of high value residential is on the West Side. Springbank Airport is a special area that justifies some commercial / light industrial development linked to the airport itself. Bragg Creek Hamlet is a special Area, as is Harmony Hamlet.
Bragg Creek is a gateway to Kananaskis Country and thus a tourist destination. This is a community in transition and finding its new post-Flood – post-Pandemic identity. Tasteful commercial that is complimentary to the region and that is a benefit to the community should be encouraged.
Springbank is predominately high value residential. Commercial endeavours that support the associated lifestyle should be welcome. Does Springbank need a regional Costco 5-minutes away, when 2 others are available on the Ring Road, each less than 20 minutes away? I think I know what the residents in Division 1 would prefer.
Where in RVC are the most logical places for commercial, industrial and residential development?
Where it makes good business, economic, and planning sense, with the highest and best use of the land, and with the highest benefit to improved lifestyles, and the least detrimental impact on quality of life. Each should be located consistent with policy and with the support of the existing affected communities - be they Residential, Commercial, or Agricultural.
What is your opinion about the CMRB and its effect on development in RVC?
I buy in as a whole, once there is an appeal mechanism. The region just received Provincial approval late September for the CMRB recommended appeal process.
Cooperation on a regional basis is needed. Historically, Rocky View acting in isolation has led to waste, long-term debt, and costs to existing ratepayers. By working with our regional neighbours Rocky View will be able to grow our share of the regional development “pie” better than if we continue with our historic combative approach.
The anti-CMRB crowd emphasize Calgary’s “veto” power. They ignore the reality that there is an appeal mechanism that will temper that power and political gamesmanship. They also ignore that Calgary needs support from its regional partners to move its own growth plans forward.
Do you know if, and by how much, RVC’s commercial development has reduced our residential taxes?
Current assessment split is about 73% residential / 27% commercial. Current mill rate multipliers are 1.0x for residential and 3.0x for commercial. Net result is about 53% of Rocky View’s tax revenue is from commercial.
Anecdotally, Administration has estimated that the cost of servicing commercial properties is lower than residential. However, there has not been any rigorous analysis of the all-in costs for each, so right now it is not possible to accurately answer this question. It is a question that the new council should pursue.
None of this considers the impact on residential taxes that has come from school taxes (a flow-through) or other provincial down-loads like policing.
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