Delegates and fellow speakers, I am pleased to be here in Calgary and thank you for inviting me here today to share with you a little about the Capital Region Board. Today I will speak provide you with a brief overview of the Capital Region Board’s Growth Plan and how, through our long-term planning, we will manage infrastructure investment while ensuring that water and waste water is effectively managed throughout our region, regardless of municipal boundaries.To fully appreciate our story, I will provide your with some context by describing the Board and its members, its mandate and its story which began in 2008 when the Provincial government mandated and called upon municipal elected officials of the Region to establish this Board and appointed an Interim Chair to lead it; to today, 4 years later, the Board has elected one its own members as Board Chair. As part of our story, I will share with you today, our lessons learned and our evolving recipe as to how this group of elected officials are today, learning to become a family of diverse interdependent communities that has the forethought and ability to work together, in the Region’s best interest, to shape our Region for continued prosperity for our citizens and businesses.
Who are we?The Capital Region Board was established on April 15, 2008 by the Capital Region Board Regulation under the Municipal Government Act. The Board consists of 24 municipalities in the Capital Region, including five counties, five cities and fourteen towns and villages. Each municipality is required to assign one Board member who is generally the senior elected official, most often the the Mayor or Reeve, but in some instances, a Councillor. Collectively the Board represents just over 1.1 million people, about one third of Alberta’s total population. The CRB Regulation stipulated that the Board:Prepare a Capital Region Growth PlanAdvise and make recommendations to the Minister regarding the preparation and implementation of the Growth PlanFacilitate the resolution of issues arising from the preparation and implementation of the Growth PlanImplement policies for the sharing of costs among the participating municipalities for regional projectsReview and approve municipal statutory plans for conformity with the Regional Evaluation Framework(REF)Carry out other functions and duties as the Minister directs, or that the Capital Region Board deems a priority
The growth plan is a roadmap that, over the long term, will ensure that our region develops in a smart, sustainable way. Its impact will be felt and its value demonstrated, in the coming years and decades. The Growth Plan is, at the regional level, an integrated land use, transit, housing and GIS plan. The scope of the plan also included the Population & Employment Projections and the Oct & Dec 2009 Addendums. The Plan is based on a shared vision for the future of the Capital Region, best planning practices and six core principles which served to guide the plan's implementation: To protect the environment; Minimize the regional footprint; Strengthen communities; Increase transportation choice; Ensure efficient provision of services; and to Support regional economic development. The Capital Region Growth Plan, as prepared by the Capital Region Board, was approved by the Premier and the Minister of Municipal Affairs, and became effective on March 31, 2010. The Board’s focus is now on implementing the approved plan, which will take place over many years, as resources permit. The Plan will also be reviewed every five years, with the first update scheduled for 2015, to monitor the progress toward the goals of the Plan and to update it as the Region grows and develops. Reference material only:Housing Plan: Strategy and Implementation Plan:Municipalities of all sizes, both individually and collectively, in the Capital Region had experienced a range of unintended consequences resulting from high growth and escalating land and housing prices during the 2003-2009 timeframe. This trend was not sustainable and could affect the region’s global competitiveness, as well as the economic prosperity and the quality of life of all citizens in the region. The focus of the Capital Region Housing Plan is to address the changing demographic and socio-economic needs of each municipality in order to ensure that demand for all forms of housing, market and non-market housing, for its citizens is being met. Implementation of this plan will require both regional and local response to ensure the right housing product is available, as well as a commitment.Land Use Plan:The challenge to maximize benefits for the Capital Region can only be effectively met by the coordinated efforts of interdependent communities within a prosperous, sustainable Region. The Capital Region’s Land Use Plan’s primary purpose is to manage sustainable growth that protects the Region’s environment and resources, minimizes the regional development footprint, strengthens communities, increases transportation choice and supports economic development. This plan aims to accomplish these objectives through an integrated and strategic approach to planning which coordinates planning and development decisions in the Regions and identifies a regional development pattern to complement existing infrastructure, services and land uses. Implementation of this strategy is by far our most difficult challenge and I will speak a little more about this when I review the Regional Evaluation Framework a little later on.GIS: Strategy and Implementation Plan:Geographic information services can provide maps to represent land based features such as boundaries, land use, roads and water lines with features such as intelligent analysis capabilities. A Regional GIS would allow for an organized view of the Region and provide the municipalities and CRB with the ability to understand the interrelationship between different kinds of data providing an equitable situation where all municipalities are able to understand and participate in the processes for planning within the Region. The challenge; however, is that a Regional GIS is dependent on strong governance, investment in its development, a sustainable funding model, data sharing and licensing, and data maintenance and presentation.Intermunicipal Transit Network Plan:The Transit Plan was developed to provide guidance to the Region for regionally integrated and coordinated transit service planning and delivery. The plan’s scope includes bus, Light Rail Transit (LRT), park and ride lots and transit centres, and must ensure that persons with disabilities can use intermunicipal transit without encountering unnecessary barriers. We believe that an integrated and coordinated public transit system will help link citizens of the Region in a manner that will enable them to reach their goals and aspirations. To do so, Regional transit must become an essential aspect of the social fabric of the Capital Region municipalities and an economic driver that will help transform the Region by attracting people to live and conduct business here. In this way, the Capital Region will be recognized as a leader in transit design, efficiency and rider satisfaction.To support the Growth Plan, aPopulation and Employment Projections Report was prepared. This report was used to inform the Land Use, Intermunicipal Transit and Housing plans. For example, these projections were used to determine the potential future transit usage estimate the social and affordable housing needs in the Region. The Growth Plan also includes 2 Addenda that were developed in late 2009 as a result of a request of the Minister of Municipal Affairs. These addenda form part of the approved Growth Plan.
The best way to illustrate the benefits of regional planning is to show you through a series of maps outlining our current and planned infrastructure across the Capital Region. Before I get into the details, I would first like to share a few foundational concepts that were used to guide the development of the Growth Plan:The areas outlined in blue depict what we call the “Priority Growth Areas”. Priority Growth Areas are locations where growth is directed, due to existing or planned multi-modal transportation corridors, the proximity to existing or proposed major employment areas, the redevelopment or intensification opportunities within an existing urban area, and the ability to utilize and maximize existing infrastructure or logically and efficiently extend infrastructure.The areas outlined in red depict what we call “Cluster Country Residential Areas”. Cluster Country Residential Areas are rural lands that have been subdivided to create multiple residential lots that are connected to communal services, and designed to group or cluster the residential uses together on smaller lots in order to maximize the retention of open space.The dark purple & light purple areas depict what we call “Major Employment Areas and Future Employment Areas” are areas that have, or are anticipated to have, a significant concentration of jobs, such as Acheson, Nisku, Alberta’s Industrial Heartland and Port Alberta which represents transportation hubs around the international airport.
WATER:This slide shows the current with the future regional water infrastructure. Purple depicts existing and gold lines depicts the future water infrastructure. The 3 circles highlight the areas where future water infrastructure is planned.
WASTEWATER:This slide shows the current with the future regional wastewater infrastructure. Red depicts existing with green depicts the future wastewater infrastructure. The 3 circles highlight the areas where future wastewater infrastructure is planned.
WATER & WASTEWATER:By 2043 we are planning to extend the region’s infrastructure for water and wastewater. While the region does not currently suffer from water issues that many other areas do, the key to our plan is to ensure we have a well-managed water supply and wastewater management as the region grows thereby reducing the potential for water issues in the future.
Existing and future water and wastewater infrastructure inform the plan as to the feasibility and the best opportunity to stage and guide growth whether it be industrial, country residential or high density - the concept of managed growth uses this infrastructure as its base to identify current and forecast priority growth areas, cluster country residential areas and employment areas.This, in turn, further informs the requirements and placement of regional roadways and transit.
Neal Sarnecki - Captial Region Board
The Capital Region Board Canadian Water Summit Session Title: Keeping Our Cities Afloat Rethinking Regional Water Management Session Calgary, June 28, 2012
Opportunities and ChallengesOpportunities Challenges • Doing what is best for the Region• Anticipates needs in advance of while respecting distinct demand municipality requirements &• Enables a proactive approach to expectations managing water and other • Capacity of municipalities to resources effectively participate• Reduces overall footprint and • Keeping current with Regional infrastructure costs trends (predicted vs actual)• Brings the municipalities across • Collaboration takes time, energy the region together and focus• Ability to strengthen the city-region • The definition of success is not the as an economic driver same for diverse communities• Positions the Region in the global • Outcomes are not easily market place measured in the short-term