Calgary Regional Partnership Media Report: January - April 2013
MEDIA & SOCIAL MEDIA REPORT Re: Calgary Metropolitan Plan
2 Metro Plan mediation continues Wednesday, April 10, 2013 10:49:01 MDT AM The Calgary Regional Partnership (CRP) and counties of Rocky View and Foothills are sitting down to officially discuss the Calgary Metro Plan for the first time since February 2012. Mayor Truper McBride, also CRP chairman, told town council the parties will be meeting at the Cochrane RancheHouse, Apr. 16, with a mediator as they try to resolve their differences. The counties left the CRP in 2009 because of objections to some components of the plan. McBride told council mediation is expected to wrap up by June.
3 Councilors trade barbs over Calgary Metropolitan Plan By Marco Vigliotti, High River Times Tuesday, April 9, 2013 1:34:11 MDT PM High River town council voted to postpone debate Monday on a ceremonial motion endorsing the Calgary Metropolitan Plan (CMP) after councilors grinded to a stalemate over the expansive regional plan. The motion was brought forward by Coun. Tim Whitford –an opponent of the plan-‐ who said he was doing so to provide an opportunity for councilors to publicly share their views on the subject. But Coun. Don Moore said the motion was puzzling, adding he did not see the purpose of endorsing or opposing the CMP, especially with the provincial government still actively pursuing mediated talks over the plan with three objecting rural municipalities, including the MD of Foothills. All councilors, including Whitford, eventually sided with Moore on tabling the motion but not before they took turns arguing for and against the plan–which is supposed to govern the future of growth, water and transit for the wider Calgary region. One of the fiercest opponents on council, Whitford charged that the CMP would eventually grow into another bloated layer of government that will sap away finances from the town.
4 “The costs are of significant concerns (with) our share of the contribution at $0.42 per person,” he said, noting these costs will continue to grow over the years. Whitford also argued one of the biggest potential fiscal burdens in the plan is a proposed regional transit system aiming to connect members of the Calgary Regional Partnership (CRP) –the group designing the CMP. This system intends to link municipalities from as far away as Nanton with the Calgary transit system through an express bus service that will transport commuters to their nearest C-‐train stations. However some CRP members, including High River, want to delay their participation in the program, because they do not think it is economical right now to finance their own bus line, which is a requirement of the system. Whitford said the town would be forced to contribute considerable funding to the system immediately regardless of when they plan on joining up. “(I feel) the town will lose control (to the CRP), particularly in transportation,” he said. “At the start of a transit line, (an average municipality) subsidizes 75-‐80 per cent of the costs.” “I feel we would be sucked in early (into this system) and lose the ability to control costs.” Yet, Moore rebutted these claims, arguing the town would not be forced to contribute to the system until they are linked up. He also stressed the CRP plans to remain a volunteer organization and in fact, is supporting the mediated discussions. “(The minister) said he did not want to legislate the plan (over the objections of the rural municipalities) and is pursuing arbitration (talks),”said Moore. “The CRP has said they want to be a volunteer organization.” Despite this talk of volunteer association, Moore did say the government has signaled they will use their power of the purse to win over objectors to the CMP. He said municipal affairs minister Doug Griffiths has already pledged to connect support for the CMP with the main source of infrastructure funding for any municipality in the province -‐the Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) “(The minister also) said he plans on using a carrot and stick approach (to get municipalities to sign on to the CMP) by (adjusting) funding from the MSI,” said Moore. Proponents of the plan noted these efforts by the provincial government, warning opposition to the CMP could harm the town finances.
5 But those opposing the plan said the key issue is the threat posed by handing over a big share of municipal authority to the City of Calgary, which they claim essentially controls the CRP because of their significant clout. “I am very much against the CMP,” said Coun. Betty Hiebert. “I do not like the veto (that Calgary would have) and developing another layer of government.” “It will cost High River for decades.” The question of authority and power within the CRP has consistently stalled the completion of the plan, which has been in development for the past 15 years. The three rural municipalities dropped out of the CRP in 2009 over these concerns, saying they will lose their authority to sanction development in their own jurisdictions. However supporters maintain the CMP is an ambitious and necessary plan crafting a shared vision for the future of a diverse and heavily populated region. “I support (an) effort to try and affect change within,” said Coun. Jamie Kinghorn of the CMP. “It benefits all communities in the area,” added Coun. Al Brander.
6 Anderson addresses CRP Wednesday, March 27, 2013 11:30:19 MDT AM Airdrie MLA Rob Anderson doesn’t believe communities should be forced to follow the ‘stack ‘em and pack ‘em’ model of the Calgary Metropolitan Plan (CMP) nor should they be held for ransom by threatening to limit access to safe and stable water. The Wildrose opposition house leader questioned Municipal Affairs minister Doug Griffiths on whether jurisdictions objecting to endorsing the plan will legislated to join the Calgary Regional Partnership (CRP) during the Mar. 20 question period, but said he didn’t receive a commitment. Anderson asked, “Will you commit that you will not legislatively compel any community to join the CRP, nor force them to build to the CRP’s minimum density requirement of eight units per acre?” Anderson’s question hit the Legislature floor just as the mediation process began between the CRP and two municipalities who take issue with the metro plan. Both the Rocky View County and Municipal District of Foothills opted out of the CRP in 2009 because of their objections to the CMP. They believe the plan limits their authority on development issues and constrains water licensing. “Rocky View has been very clear that until the density requirements are relaxed and the
7 whole structure is changed that they have issues with it,” said Anderson. He said people are starting to get fed up with the direction being taken. “I know the people of Airdrie are starting to get tired of developments in our community that are trying to turn us into something we’re not. If we wanted to live in Calgary, a great city, then we would live in Calgary. “But we have chosen to live in Airdrie or Cochrane or Chestermere and so forth because we want a little more space. I think a lot of people are getting tired of having these ‘stack ‘em and pack ‘em’ communities being wedged into our rural communities.” Anderson recognizes there is a demand for smaller homes and lots for low and middle-‐income families. What he believes is each jurisdiction should have autonomy when it comes to making these decisions. But this autonomy has been given to members of the CRP in the metro plan, said CRP chairman Truper McBride, who is also mayor of Cochrane. The plan is designed to allow municipalities control over their own development and isn’t intended to create another level of government. Areas earmarked for development in the future, as identified by individual municipalities, will not be affected by the plan. McBride said the voting formula also ensures the smaller municipalities have a voice to put them on par with Calgary. Making changes to the plan requires the agreement of two-‐thirds majority of municipalities representing 50 per cent of the region’s population. By doing so, only decisions widely agreed upon will pass. Anderson takes issue with using the assurance of a water supply as a bargaining chip to force a consensus on the plan. “It’s wrong for the province to say communities like Cochrane, Airdrie, Chestermere and Rocky View have to join against their will a partnership that says if you want access to water you have to build the way that we want you to build. That takes away autonomy from local residents and it’s a little bit like having a gun put to your head and saying if you want to develop, you have to do it our way or you just won’t develop.” McBride said the plan is essential to guide growth in the region and is anxious to get it into place after all these years. Work on the plan was initiated in 2006 and a draft was finalized in 2009. “It is absolutely vital that we have a region plan and vision in place to guide development going into the future,” said McBride. “We know that the status quo has presented problems. It’s very expensive to service from a taxpayer standpoint. We have to put something in place and the metro plan does it.”
8 McBride is optimistic the mediation between the two holdouts and the CRP will bear fruit. Last week, McBride and the CRP board had an initial meeting with the mediator. He expects talks will be in full swing by mid-‐April. County officials have also had initial meetings with the mediator. Prior to initial meetings, Rocky View County reeve Rolly Ashdown said he looked forward to the discussions. Municipal Affairs minister Doug Griffiths wants to see the long-‐standing impasse resolved and last month his department stepped in to help with the process. “The intent will be to have this mediation wrapped up by June and the minister has told me failure is not an option,” said McBride. “So, they’re quite serious about this and I think it is a good thing. We’re receiving some leadership on this from the province and I commend them for that.” Anderson, too, favours regional partnerships but doesn’t like the methods being used. “I like the idea of regional partnerships but not when someone has a gun to your head, that’s not a partnership, that’s a shake down and it’s time for the province to step up and solve this problem, not by forcing regionalization but by making sure that all communities in the Calgary region have access to water and not just Calgary.”
9 Anderson questions ministers intentions with CRP Mar 25, 2013 02:33 pm | By Sylvia Cole Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths said forcing rural municipalities into an agreement with the Calgary Regional Partnership (CRP) won’t work. That was his response to Wildrose Airdrie MLA Rob Anderson who asked Griffiths during Question Period March 20 not to force any community to join the CRP, nor force them to build to the CRP’s minimum density standard. The CRP is currently in mediation between the rural municipalities of Rocky View County and the MD of Foothills pertaining to the partnerships governing document, the Calgary Metropolitan Plan (CMP). Mediation began as proposed by Griffiths and is expected to be complete by the end of June. During the Question Period in Edmonton, Anderson said there is concern about the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan (SSRP), and added that a legislated CMP as part of the regional plan will “rob communities like Airdrie and Rocky View of their autonomy to grow in the way they feel is best for their citizens.” He said restrictions in both the SSRP and CRP would turn the communities into “cookie-‐cutter stack ‘em and pack ‘em growth nodes as the CRP calls them.” Griffiths responded to Anderson and said mediation is being undertaken to get all of the partners at the table to discuss a solution. “I’ve said many times ... That forcing people to work together does not get good relationships, but allowing them not to talk to each other does not get good relationships either,” he said. “It’s imperative for the success of this province going forward that these municipalities
10 work together to make sure we have smart building so we don’t have environmental conflicts and agricultural conflicts and industrial conflicts,” he said. Anderson agreed and then asked if the minister of environment would provide access-‐to-‐water license for these communities without “forcing them to join the CRP.” He said southern Alberta communities have concerns over water access and fear water for new businesses and residents is going to be used as a pressure point to enter into the CMP. Diana McQueen, minister of environment, said she is in the midst of consultation on water discussions and said “we’re hearing from everybody with regard to the need to share water, water management, waste water, healthy lakes, hydraulic fracturing and water use.” She said it’s an “important discussion” and invites all Albertans to provide input before there are any policy changes. The South Saskatchewan region includes about 45 per cent of Albertans living in the cities of Calgary, Airdrie and Lethbridge, as well as a number of municipalities including Rocky View County. The region comprises about 12 per cent of Alberta’s land base -‐ 83,774 square kilometres. The SSRP is the second of seven regional plans that will be developed based on Alberta’s major watersheds.
11 Premier meets with Calgary, Edmonton mayors on civic charters Meeting follows public spat between Calgarys mayor and Albertas municipal affairs minister CBC News Posted: Mar 23, 2013 11:45 AM MT Premier Alison Redford met with the mayors of Calgary and Edmonton Friday to discuss civic charters for Albertas two big cities. Charters for Edmonton and Calgary, agreed to in principle in 2012, would provide the cities more powers. The meeting follows a growing rift between Mayor Naheed Nenshi and the Redford government since Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths suggested Nenshi was playing politics and acting like a peacock. Nenshi had called for the premier to get personally involved in the talks, as they werent progressing as quickly as had been expected. He also wanted to address negotiations that have been dragging on the ratification of the Calgary Metropolitan Plan. Redford called the Calgary session a productive one. She said the work will continue on developing a new partnership between the two cities and the provincial government. Productive discussion "The premier had a very productive discussion with Mayor Nenshi and Mayor [Stephen] Mandel — all three committed to continuing work toward a new partnership that recognizes Calgary and Edmontons unique circumstances," said premier spokeswoman Neala Barton. "Todays meeting was a chance for the premier to touch base with both mayors and, ensure work was proceeding well. It was also an opportunity for her to reiterate her commitment to creating a civic charter that serves all Albertans interests." Barton said ensuring Albertas largest urban centres continue on a path of growth and prosperity only adds to the provinces already strong economy. "Ultimately, a civic charter is about creating a renewed relationship that will better serve the residents of both Edmonton and Calgary," she said. "By continuing our work together, well be able to deliver higher quality services more seamlessly and efficiently and create even better conditions for economic growth."
12 Forcing compliance isnt answer Thursday, March 21, 2013 4:27:56 MDT PM Wildrose Airdrie MLA Rob Anderson doesn’t believe communities should be forced to build ‘stack ‘em and pack ‘em’ model of the Calgary Metropolitan Plan (CMP) and shouldn’t be held for ransom by threatening safe and stable access to water. The Wildrose official opposition house leader questioned Municipal Affairs minister Doug Griffiths on whether jurisdictions objecting to endorsing the plan will legislated to join the Calgary Regional Partnership (CRP) during the Mar. 20 question period, but said he didn’t receive a commitment. Anderson asked, “Will you commit that you will not legislatively compel any community to join the CRP, nor force them to build to the CRP’s minimum density requirement of eight units per acre?” Anderson’s question hit the Legislature floor just as the mediation process has begun between the CRP and two municipalities who take issue with the metro plan. Both the Rocky View County and Municipal District of Foothills opted out of the CRP in 2009, largely based upon their objections to the CMP. They believe the plan limits their authority on development issues and constrains water licensing. Anderson agrees with the stance being taken by Rocky View and concurs with their reluctance to bend to a requirement to build eight units per acre. He also believes water shouldn’t be used as a bargaining chip. “Rocky View has been very clear that until the density requirements are relaxed and the whole structure is changed that they have issues with it.” Anderson told The Times. Anderson agrees and believes people are getting fed up. “I know the people of Airdrie are starting to get tired of developments in our community that are trying to turn us
13 into something we’re not. If we wanted to live in Calgary, great city, then we would live in Calgary. But we have chosen to live in Airdrie or Cochrane or Chestermere and so forth because we want a little more space. I think a lot of people are getting tired of having these ‘stack ‘em and pack ‘em’ communities being wedged into our rural communities.” Anderson recognizes there is a demand for smaller homes and lots for low and middle-‐income families. What he believes is each jurisdiction should have autonomy when it comes to making these decisions. “It’s not to say you don’t any low income housing or you don’t want any middle income housing, of course you want those things, but you also want a supply of middle income housing that actually allows you to move around a little bit,” said Anderson. “The reasons you move to a small town are being taken away because of these silly requirements that places like Airdrie and Cochrane now have to build to eight units per acre, which is something you would see in mid-‐town Calgary.” It irks Anderson to hear water is being used as a bargaining chip to force a consensus on the plan. “It’s wrong for the province to say communities like Cochrane, Airdrie, Chestermere and Rocky View have to join against their will a partnership that says if you want access to water you have to build the way that we want you to build. That takes away autonomy from local residents and it’s a little bit like having a gun put to your head and saying if you want to develop, you have to do it our way or you just won’t develop. You don’t have to join us, but if you don’t you won’t be able to develop. That to me is wrong. Water is not a bargaining chip, water is a right of all citizens.” Anderson says he’s not opposed to regional partnerships but forcing issues important to jurisdictions like Rocky View County isn’t the answer. “I like the idea of regional partnerships but not when someone has a gun to your head, that’s not a partnership, that’s a shake down and it’s time for the province to step up and solve this problem, not by forcing regionalization but making sure that all communities in the Calgary region have access to water and not just Calgary.” The mediator started discussions with the parties this week. They met with CRP chairman Truper McBride twice this week and are scheduled to meet with the CRP board on Friday. The mediator is also speaking with county officials.
14 Irricana in line for potential CRP transit study Mar 11, 2013 03:03 pm | By Thomas Miller | Rocky View Weekly The Calgary Regional Partnership (CRP) is working out the feasibility of regional transportation including a potential bus loop running from Irricana to Airdrie. Irricana Councillor Josh Taylor reported the potential for such a bus loop during the March 4 Town council meeting. Taylor stated in his report that certain economic factors would have to improve in order for the bus loop to become a reality, but said it’s great that Irricana is being considered. “Since we’ve become a member of the CRP, which is about three years, there has been no thought of Irricana being helped by the CRP at all,” said Taylor. “It’s very good that Irricana is being taken seriously at CRP as a vital player in this game.” Taylor said that the CRP could perform a feasibility study on Irricana within the next few years. According to Ettore Iannacito, the CRP’s regional transportation manager, Cochrane recently completed its feasibility study, while Chestermere and Okotoks are currently in the process of doing so. Iannacito says they’re trying to look at transportation from a regional perspective as opposed to individual municipalities. “If the CRP had to do it, how could it be done differently?” said Iannacito. “Within that context we went and visited all the municipalities, the smaller municipalities, because we consider them all very important and basically said to them, if we were able to implement transit within the next five to 10 years or even 10 to 20 years, what would your transit needs be?” Iannacito explained that it’s only a hypothetical scenario at the moment, but if it’s something wanted by the people of Irricana, it’s possible. However, Taylor isn’t so sure Irricana residents want such a transportation system. He explained a few years ago he discussed the possibility of such a bus loop with residents and the idea never got off the table.
15 “I grew up in a small town … as soon as you turn 16 and you get your driver’s licence, that’s it, you don’t have to wait for the bus,” said Taylor. Taylor expressed the town is changing with more people coming to Irricana who grew up in urban settings and might be more accustomed to taking the bus. “If you grew up in a small town, your car is a symbol of freedom,” said Taylor. “But now with gas prices going up, etc. … that will affect a lot of people who were not specifically raised in small towns or rural Alberta. They are more used to the convenience of taking the bus.” Once reports are completed in Chestermere and Okotoks, Irricana will be considered.
16 Its rural vs. Calgary in regional plan Districts say theyll lose autonomy if city has its way Published March 7, 2013 by Suzy Thompson in News Three municipal districts surrounding Calgary are afraid Mayor Naheed Nenshi will succeed in forcing them to join the Calgary Regional Partnership (CRP). The MDs of Wheatland, Rocky View and Foothills are digging in their collective heels and refusing to sign on to the CRP or its governing document, the Calgary Metropolitan Plan (CMP). In February, mayor Nenshi scored headlines with his efforts to convince the provincial government to create legislation that would force the MDs to join, and the ensuing personal jabs between him and Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths. Now, the CRP and the resistant MDs are awaiting a provincially appointed mediator to see if the CMP can be altered enough to entice them to join. “I totally understand why he is trying to pressure the provincial government into legislating the plan with the three rurals, because Calgary has everything to gain, basically, and the rural municipalities have everything to lose,” says MD of Foothills Reeve Larry Spilak. “Sure, I can understand his position, but I’m really grateful to minister Griffiths and the PC government for defending the smaller rural municipalities and our autonomy.” The Calgary Regional Partnership was formed in 1999 as a way for Calgary and surrounding communities to collaborate on development and infrastructure. Today there are 14 members: Airdrie, Banff, Black Diamond, Calgary, Canmore, Chestermere, Cochrane, High River, Irricana, Nanton, Okotoks, Redwood Meadows, Strathmore and
17 Turner Valley. While all its members agree it is in everyone’s best interests to take the entire region into account when writing development plans, Calgary’s overwhelming size and clout is a common sore spot. The CMP was approved in the summer of 2012 after several years of contentious negotiations which included the participation and then withdrawal of Rocky View and Foothills MDs. Wheatland did not participate, but Calgary wants all three MDs included. The situation is still tense, as Nenshi and city council hold that Calgary’s development is hindered as long as the MDs in question do not sign onto the CMP, which is why Nenshi ultimately asked the provincial government to force their membership — something Premier Alison Redford says will not happen. The MDs encompass huge swaths of mainly rural land surrounding Calgary, and include nearly every member town in the CRP. Their main issue with the partnership is what they consider a guaranteed loss of autonomy. The CMP contains a provision to force final votes weighted by population. A decision made by member communities accounting for 50 per cent of the region’s population is absolute. With 87 per cent of the region’s population, that voting model gives Calgary a de facto veto on every vote. Resistant reeves like Spilak and Rocky View’s Rolly Ashdown claim Calgary is pushing the CMP because it is intent on controlling the entire region’s infrastructure and development to the city’s advantage. In 2011, the three MDs asked the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties (AAMDC) to review the CMP and come up with recommendations to change it in the MDs’ favour. Those recommendations were ignored, as were 34 amendments the MDs suggested to the CMP while it was still being written in 2009. AAMDC president Bob Barss says Calgary is now using its water licence as leverage to compel communities to submit to the CMP. Calgary is licensed to draw enough water from the Bow River to service an estimated three million people. Surrounding municipalities are capped at their current allocation and need to tap into Calgary’s overabundant supply in order to grow. “It stops the growth of a rural municipality. [Calgary has] enough water allocation just about for all the people in Alberta,” says Barss. “You can’t use water as a lever, and with that much allocation that’s what Calgary is doing. We know that because of what happened with Cross Iron Mills and we know that with CN moving their offices and shops out of Calgary and into the outskirts so they could get into a different water line.” Rocky View County had asked Calgary to connect the new CN rail yard to the city’s supply, but the request was denied and the rail yard has since arranged to source its water from an irrigation district. Whether water allocation is seen as an incentive to join the partnership or as punishment for failing to, it is a real condition of the CMP. The plan states “the City of Calgary is willing to provide bulk potable water and wastewater services to members of the CRP in order to support the growth identified under the auspices of the CMP.” However, water won’t be provided unless specific development conditions are accepted, and that’s where the MDs believe they are sacrificing their
18 governance powers to Calgary. Ashdown says the reason there are no rural MDs in the plan is because it calls for cramming eight to 10 houses into an acre in order to receive services. “We don’t have 40-‐foot lots in the country,” he says. In order to qualify for Calgary’s water under the CMP, member communities, even mainly rural districts like the three MDs would be, must build much denser residential communities. “If development continues at its current pace, without co-‐ordinated regional planning, our region’s urban development footprint is sure to increase dramatically,” warns the CMP. “By implementing the goals in the Plan, we can expect to see a 70 per cent reduction in land used for urban development in the future.... Member municipalities will ensure that all new development in priority growth areas is compact, mixed-‐use; walkable.... Calgary Regional Partnership (CRP) acknowledges the unique low-‐density lifestyle choice that existing and new hamlets and villages provide in our region, where they can thrive without regional servicing,” i.e. without tying in to Calgary’s water supply. Calgary’s offer of water-‐for-‐compliance may eventually work with Rocky View. But because it draws from the Sheep and Highwood rivers, Spilak says the MD of Foothills doesn’t need Calgary’s water or its partnership. Instead, Spilak says the MD will happily sign on to the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan, which he believes addresses growth issues much more appropriately. “Calgary does not have us over a barrel because we don’t require their water…. The CMP is an urban plan. It’s for urban planning and we’re a rural jurisdiction. We do grow, of course, and we develop, but on a much different scale and a much different way than the cities and towns do,” he explains. “If you can control your municipality, and you can control all the municipalities around you, you decide where the growth goes, you decide where industry goes, you make all the decisions. So it’s strictly a control issue,” says Barss. “They definitely are not going to get anywhere without a mediator.” Redford and Griffiths have both promised the MDs they will not be forced into any agreement with Calgary. Redford also told the MDs during a tour of the region in February that Environment Minister Diana McQueen will be visiting southern Alberta in March to discuss water supply issues.
19 Rocky View County headed to mediation over Calgary Metropolitan Plan Wednesday, March 6, 2013 11:47:26 MST AM The Calgary Regional Partnership (CRP) is headed into mediation with Rocky View County and the Municipal District of Foothills after again failing to come to an agreement yet again over the Calgary Metropolitan Plan (CMP). Doug Griffiths, Minister of Municipal Affairs, presented the mediation option to the CRP and the rural communities near the end of February with a no fail mandate. Developed and approved in 2009, the CMP looks to address regional issues such as infrastructure, environment, growth, local economy and governance. Rocky View and Foothills left after the Plan was approved due to concerns about density, governance and water and things have come to standstill since. The plan is basically a document the province sees as essential to long-‐term growth for the Calgary region; protecting ecological systems, preventing urban sprawl and building wise infrastructure projects in the area, for example. According to Truper McBride, chair of the CPR and Mayor of Cochrane, the CRP has gone back several times to the communities to try and come to a compromise. He listed examples of rewording about density policies, servicing for public institutions and use of the super-‐majority governance system as areas they improved to get the districts back on board, but with no luck. “We think that we did our best attempt at trying to resolve the issues that the rural municipalities have with the plan, it didn’t go far enough with them,” he stated, hence why the provincial government has now stepped in. Rolly Ashdown, Reeve of Rocky View County, said while he doesn’t think eliminating this
20 is a goal of any parties involved, he wants to ensure that each municipality’s autonomy remains intact and that no one is forced into regionalization. “If we want to do a planning thing, we want to make sure that if it’s considered regional in nature that we get to make decisions on our county for our taxpayers the same as everybody else, without anybody interfering with the ability or non-‐ability to do that.” McBride said the CRP wants to keep planning local and that the only regional function of that would come into effect when looking at regional servicing and transportation — if an area needs access to regional servicing, there has to be in place certain densities to achieve that. But that’s the sticking point, according to Ashdown. While Rocky View has successful inter-‐municipal committees with their neighbours in the CRP, he said urban planning is different than rural planning and that he’s still concerned his smaller municipality could be outvoted on governance issues by larger ones like Calgary. Despite differences, both parties said they’re looking forward to sitting down with the province to reach an agreement and hearing what the other has to say. The CRP is currently made up of 14 municipalities, including Airdrie. The mediation process is set to begin in early March, but dates have yet to be set by the province. A resolution is expected by June.
21 CRP, County, Province mediation promising Mar 04, 2013 01:33 pm We are cautiously optimistic about the Province’s proposed mediation solution inviting Rocky View County to become a part of the Calgary Regional Partnership (CRP). (See story on page 1). As Rocky View County Reeve Rolly Ashdown pointed out, in the past, the CRP has tried to bully the County into joining the cooperative. The County voted to leave the CRP in 2009 because of concerns about governance, density and water. The council of the day felt the governance mandate of the CRP, or voting structure, threatened municipal autonomy; residential development densities of between eight and 10 units per acre did not fit into a rural lifestyle and wanted to explore the opportunity of being a part of a regional water and wastewater service. We are glad to see the groups entering into talks again with the Province as a mediator and hope they are more productive and fair than they have been in the past. The one thing that has us worried is the fact the CRP chair claims the minister of municipal affairs has said the “process will not be allowed to fail.” We can only hope this doesn’t mean the Province plans to force the municipality to join the partnership even if it is not in its residents’ best interest. We agree the Calgary Region needs an over arching plan that will guide growth into the future. However, we feel it is imperative that the plan works for all parties involved. Rocky View County and the Municipal District of Foothills contain a large majority of the residents in the Calgary area. This plan will guide how their land, resources and government works and will indirectly shape how they live.
22 Province offers mediation to CRP, rural municipalities Mar 04, 2013 01:28 pm | By Dawn Smith | Rocky View Weekly Rocky View County has been invited to accept the mediation solution to become part of the Calgary Regional Partnership (CRP) presented by Doug Griffiths, the minister of municipal affairs. Griffiths penned a letter in late January, outlining the terms in a bid to bring the rural municipalities of Rocky View and Foothills back into the CRP fold. Pending agreement by the rurals, mediation is set to begin in March and is expected to be completed by the end of June, according to a CRP blog post dated Feb. 22. When Rocky View voted to leave the CRP in 2009, it was over concerns about governance, density and water. Reeve Rolly Ashdown said the County is looking forward to the mediation process. “Usually what happens when we get together with the CRP is they have already decided what will work for Rocky View,” he said. “This is the first time we will actually sit down with them. We don’t have a problem getting together with people, it’s great.” CRP Chair and Cochrane Mayor Truper McBride is also optimistic about the process. “We have tried to resolve the outstanding issues with the rurals in the past, (but) we weren’t able to come up with a resolution ourselves,” he said. “What has changed is the Province has decided to take a lead on this.We are very pleased the minister has stepped forward.” McBride said the CRP is waiting to hear from the rural municipalities, but said he suspects all the parties will want to take part in the process to ensure the success of the CRP’s long-‐range growth plan for the Calgary region, entitled the Calgary Metropolitan Plan (CMP). He added the minister told him the “process will not be allowed to fail.” Jerry Ward, public affairs officer for Alberta’s municipal affairs department, confirmed the letters had been sent to all CRP partner municipalities, as well as Rocky View County
23 and the Municipal District of Foothills. “It was basically to move the process forward,” he said, adding the letters were penned Jan. 28. “The (CMP) is a priority of our government and the Province has supported the partnership in developing the plan. “Failure to include the rurals, which represent a large majority of the residents in the Calgary area, is a big concern for the effectiveness of the plan.” The CMP was approved by the CRP in 2009, and has been awaiting the Province’s approval for nearly four years. “We need everyone working together to prepare for the more than three million people (double the current population) expected to live in the Calgary Region over the next 60 years,” stated the blog post, located online at www.calgaryregion.ca
24 TV show puts Chestermere in the limelight Mar 04, 2013 01:33 pm | By Thomas Miller | Rocky View Weekly Chestermere is getting cross-‐continent exposure. The Today in America TV program recently featured Chestermere in a hidden gems segment. Terry Bradshaw, a television personality famous for leading the Pittsburgh Steelers to four Super Bowls in the 1970s and 1980s, is the host of the program, which airs on a number of different networks including BNN, CNN and Discovery. Chestermere Mayor Patricia Matthews said she worked with the Chestermere Chamber of Commerce and the Calgary Regional Partnership to find the right people to speak about Chestermere as a destination for viewers. Even Olympic gold medallist John Morris pitched in as a spokesperson for Chestermere in the segment. Morris is occupied at the moment by the Tim Hortons Brier, where he’s competing as the third on Team Martin. But Matthews says Morris has always been the perfect spokesperson for Chestermere. “He is a fantastic community supporter,” said the mayor of the Olympian. “John works with our Big Brothers Big Sisters program, he comes out and mentors some of the kids with the youth curling, he’s at every event we’ve ever asked to be at. “He sacrifices a lot for our community, we couldn’t ask for a better spokesman.” Along with Matthews and Morris, Andrew Marriott, owner of a Tim Hortons franchise in Chestermere, Graeme Melton, land development manager for Melcor Developments, and Kyle Wilson of Wilson Master Media participated in the video to champion Chestermere. Wilson has been a Chestermere resident since 1989 and he’s seen the town grow, especially in the business sector. “One of the reasons I decided to start a business out there within the marketing industry is that I’ve seen a lot of businesses come and go throughout the years and that was really my initiative to put programs together where I can help contribute to get
25 these businesses names out there,” said Wilson. “In recent years, it’s been very successful … businesses are sticking around. It’s growing a lot and that’s what I like to see. “Chestermere is definitely expanding and now that we have a lot of foundational things in place such as the schools, the banks, the gas stations, I’m really hoping to see a lot more retail come in there and I believe that it’s a great, absolutely amazing community to be able to start a business, especially with all the future initiatives the Town has in place.” Matthews says the Town was able to work with the TV program on where it would air – they wanted particular airings in Texas, Vancouver and Victoria. “Texas is a big supporter of Alberta and vice versa,” said Matthews. “So we thought that would provide us with the most potential. “This will bring more opportunity not only for our current businesses, but bring future business to town, too. The chance to get out there and get people to get a better understanding of who we are as a community on a continent-‐wide scale is not something that comes along very often.” To view the segment online, visit www.chestermere.ca
26 February 28, 2013 Updated: February 28, 2013 | 8:08 pm Calgary regional mediation won’t include Wheatland County By Robson Fletcher Metro Calgary Wheatland County is refusing to take part in mediation over the Calgary Metropolitan Plan, but the province plans to press ahead with the process regardless. “We don’t want to participate,” Reeve Glenn Koester told Metro. “There’s nothing the city has to offer us. So why would we want to be in the mediation?” Wheatland County, along with Rocky View County and the Municipal District of Foothills, are not part of the plan and don’t currently sit on the Calgary Regional Partnership, which voted last week to participate in the mediation. Both Rocky View Reeve Rolly Ashdown and Foothills Reeve Larry Spilak told Metro this week their municipalities are willing to take part in mediation, although their concerns remain the same over an effective “veto” they say the plan gives Calgary over regional decisions. Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths announced the mediation process in February, saying he hoped it would “help resolve this once and for all.” Municipal Affairs spokesman Jerry Wary said Thursday Wheatland County need not necessarily be involved. “The minister has been contemplating whether Wheatland needs to be included in the mediation, given its relative distance from the city,” he said. Details on the mediation are still being sorted out but Ward said it should “get underway pretty soon” as Griffiths hopes to have a report on the process by June. Background: • The Calgary Metropolitian Plan led the recent, public spat between Mayor Naheed Nenshi and Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths. • Nenshi wants the province to legislate holdout municipalities into the regional plan, but the province has said it won’t do that. • Members of Calgary City Council believe the lack of agreement is hindering the city’s own development plans.
27 • • CRP agrees to mediation with surrounding municipalities • • By: Derek Clouthier • | Posted: Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 11:33 am • The Calgary Regional Partnership (CRP) has agreed to enter into a mediation process in an attempt to bring surrounding municipalities to the table and reach an agreement on the Calgary Metropolitan Plan (CMP). • The CRP developed the CMP, which was approved in 2009, to establish a framework to guide the region forward to ensure growth occurs in a sustainable manner. • Some regions, however, including Rocky View County (RVC) and the M.D. of Foothills, chose not to join the collaborative network, sitting now at 14 members and includes the municipalities of Cochrane, Canmore, Redwood Meadows and Airdrie, among others. • Rolly Ashdown, RVC reeve, said the county elected to remain on the sidelines because of two main factors: densities and governance. • Ashdown said density suggestions by the CRP – eight to 10 units per acre – do not mesh with the rural setting of the county. • The CRP’s method of governance, which for a vote to pass requires the majority of its members and 50 per cent of the population, is another point of contention for Ashdown, who pointed out that Calgary alone holds over 50 per cent of the CRP’s population, leaving all other member communities on the outside looking in. • Truper McBride, Cochrane mayor and CRP chair, said he hopes an agreement will be reached on the plan. • “We all certainly want to have the rural municipalities come back to the partnership,” he said. • McBride added that the CMP does not dictate levels of growth to any specific municipality, and that each identifies its own growth centres, and that is then reflected in the plan. • McBride also said that if mediation fails, the provincial government will then take it upon itself to find a solution. • Density and governance aside, Ashdown is optimistic about the upcoming mediation process. • “This is a very good thing,” he said. “This would be our first opportunity to sit at the table.” • The suggestion to enter into mediation was presented to the CRP by Alberta’s minister of municipal affairs, Doug Griffiths.
28 • Rural municipalities must also agree to enter into the mediation process, which is set to commence in March and conclude by June. • The CRP said in a media release that it hopes RVC and the M.D. of Foothills can reach an agreement on the CMP. • “We need everyone working together to prepare for the more than three million people expected to live in the Calgary region over the next 60 years,” the release indicated. “This mediation should be the end of a long process of negotiations.” • The CRP pointed toward what it called ‘several efforts’ to bring rural municipalities to the discussion table over the years, but said none of the offers or proposed amendments to the CMP were accepted by RVC or the M.D.
29 Ashdown details county ambitions By James Emery, Airdrie Echo Wednesday, February 27, 2013 11:27:01 MST AM Complex growth issues, major transportation routes and access to large labour pools to fish from to support local businesses are all things Airdrie and Rocky View County (RVC) have in common. That was the message Rolly Ashdown, reeve of RVC, brought to the podium when he gave his first-‐ever State of the County address at the Woodside Golf Course in Airdrie last Wednesday. “It’s a great way to let people know the realities (in the county),” Ashdown explained. “A lot of people speculate on what the county is doing and what they’re not doing.” Ashdown addressed the Airdrie Chamber of Commerce during their most recent networking luncheon. He touched on a variety of regional projects, a large portion of which directly involved Airdrie or neighbouring communities. In Balzac, Ashdown gushed about the 1.3-‐million sq.-‐ft Target Distribution Centre that recently opened and how it’s increasing job opportunities in the region. He said the centre currently has 250 employees and that is expected to double in the coming years. “Then they can come back here and spend money on all of the things you had in mind for people spending money on,” he said. “I hope that works out really well for Airdrie, because it’s worked so great for Rocky View County.”
30 Meanwhile, he brought everyone up to speed on a few other projects, including the Balzac Fire Station, which became operational last year near the CrossIron Mills mall. As well, he was excited for a new project in Madden that will see an 18-‐hole golf course, 21 room hotel and banquet facility as well as 15 individual cabins constructed in the hamlet northwest of Airdrie. Ashdown also took the time to quell what he said was misinformation regarding the construction of a county municipal building. Currently, RVC headquarters is off 32nd avenue in Calgary in a 1970s building that is “tired and small,” Ashdown said. He wanted to make clear that RVC had not approved a municipal building and that the county had not thought about it “too deeply.” He said the county does have a $30 million budget in mind if they do eventually move. And if the county sold their headquarters now, they would get roughly $20 million, Ashdown noted. “It’s not a bad deal for us to spend some money, get something that actually fits for us, relocate in Rocky View County, which reduces costs of fuel and gives us the ability not to have to lease extra space,” Ashdown said. Ashdown also spoke of the completed road project at Range Road 292, part of an annexation agreement that saw Airdrie grow by approximately 12,000 acres, Ashdown noted, saying he hoped it was enough for the city to expand further. “Hopefully it does, but if it doesn’t, we have about 1,000,000 acres — you can have some more,” he laughed. The reeve also addressed why the county pays Airdrie $170,000 per year for recreation through a cost sharing agreement. “We recognize that our people use your facilities,” he explained, citing Genesis Place as a key example. “It gives us the ability to not build multi-‐million dollar facilities for only a few hundred thousand dollars and gives our people the same benefit. I can’t imagine changing that.” Ashdown was also hopeful the proposed casino and racetrack in Balzac would be approved and be opened by 2014. He also updated those in attendance with status of the County Plan. The planning document, perhaps better known as a Municipal Development Plan, is set
31 to be put before council in early June and approved by June 11 following months of public consultations across the county to solicit feedback on what issues residents are most concerned about. It details policies, programs and projects to guide county development and services over the next decade, Ashdown said. “We’re going to show the residents of Rocky View County what we’ve discovered came from them so we make sure we got it right,” he said. Ashdown also fielded questions and was asked about why the county isn’t participating in the Calgary Regional Partnership (CRP) and the future of water in RVC. “The CRP is a great idea, it’s going to end up being legislation some day,” he responded. “Regional planning is coming — we’re not going to be able to avoid it. It’s a good thing.” But he said for now, servicing and government issues continue to be the two main sticking points as to why they’re resistant to return to the CRP. As for water, Ashdown said “there’s water everywhere.” “What we have now is way more than what we need,” he said. “It’s enough to service water in Rocky View County’s area to cover debt of infrastructure that brought us this business.”
32 Mediation for the CRP By Marco Vigliotti, High River Times Friday, March 1, 2013 1:44:17 MST PM Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths says he’s confident an independent mediator will be able to broker a solution to a longstanding dispute over an expansive 50-‐year plan for the Calgary region. He said the dispute between three rural municipalities -‐including the MD of Foothills-‐ and ostensibly the City of Calgary over the Calgary Metropolitan Plan (CMP) will be solved by the end of the mediation process, as the provincial government will not allow the feuding communities to come up short. “There will be cooperation” between the municipalities and mediation will resolve the dispute, he told a Feb 14. conference of municipal politicians. Griffiths said last month the government would hold mediated talks over the contentious plan -‐which is supposed to govern the future of growth, water and transit for a wide spanning area stretching from Banff to Nanton-‐ rejecting pleas from Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi to legislate the plan without the consent of the objecting municipalities. The Calgary Regional Partnership (CRP) -‐the group designing the CMP-‐ voted at their Feb. 22 meeting to accept Griffiths’ plans for mediation, posting a message on their website that talks will begin this March and wrap up by June. The CRP is made up of every major urban municipality in the broader region including the City of Calgary, the Town of Okotoks and The Town of High River. The MD of Foothills, Rocky View County and Wheatland County left the group back in 2009 over concerns about the control the City of Calgary will have over future development in their jurisdictions under the CMP. The rural municipalities say Calgary overwhelming dictates the CRP and worry the City will be able to veto any future development that goes against their plans to limit growth to already developed areas in the region. Calgary representatives say limiting growth to densely populated corridors will allow for better regional integration and ultimately save money, as communities won’t have to fund costly infrastructure projects-‐including new roads-‐ to service disparate areas.