ROCKY VIEW FORWARD
The Residents' Perspective
Division 2 - Springbank
Springbank Area Structure Plans Review
The County is in the process of reviewing the Springbank Area Structure Plans. Currently Srpingbank has three ASPs – Central Springbank, North Springbank and Moddle. One of the options under review is to consolidate the three existing ASPs into one covering the entire Springbank area.
The formal review began last fall with a preliminary information / education session in November 2016 - link here. This has been followed by separate meetings for major interest groups (developers, community groups, etc.) that the County is calling “coffee chats” and a second open house, both in February of this year. Both open houses were very well attended. Additional “COFFEE CHAT” consultations were held in June. The County is seeking feedback on its preliminary land use map by July 14, 2017.
Technical studies have also been completed and released to the public. These can be accessed on the County’s website – click here and look under Related Projects and Links.
The ASP review had originally targeted April 2018 as its completion date. However, Council approved an indefinite extension at its meeting in May. Administration asked for the extension to reduce the risks associated with potential conflicts between revised Springbank ASP(s) and the direction of the soon-to-be implemented regional Growth Management Board. T want to avoid a scenario in which Council approves a new Springbank ASP, which necessitates the repeal of the existing ASPs, only to have the Growth Management Board rescind the new version as incompatible with its objectives.
Work will be continuing on the ASP review, with potential land use scenarios released for comment by the end of 2017. However, the final document will not be completed until the County knows what rules the Growth Management Board will be imposing on local planning.
Springbank Dry Dam
The Springbank Dry Dam (SR1) is the Province’s preferred flood mitigation project for the Elbow River. It continues to wend its way through the federal environmental approval process. The Tsuu T’ina Nation have come out categorically against SR1, favouring the alternative project, McLean Creek. It is not yet clear how this will affect the Province’s options to move forward.
As a bit of a refresher, when in opposition the NDP had favoured the McLean Creek option, but shortly after becoming the government they came out in support of moving forward with the SR1 alternative. The reasoning behind their switch has never been clear. The economics of the two projects have been clouded in misrepresentations from the beginning. Many people believe that, if an objective financial analysis were done today, the McLean Creek option would make more sense from a financial perspective. Also, it does not require the expropriation of thousands of acres of farmland in west Springbank to create a visual wasteland that risks becoming a serious health hazard after each use.
At its May 23rd meeting, Council approved funding to hire a consultant to do a technical review of the Province’s Environmental Impact Assessment which will be evaluated by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA). At this stage, the Province has yet to file its EIA with the CEAA. Once it does, there is a 30-day period during which interested parties may provide their comments/concerns. There may also be a public hearing before the federal Natural Resources Conservation Board (NRCB). The County intends to use the information obtained from this expert analysis to submit any concerns it has to one or both of these federal agencies.
More information on the federal process can be found here.
Transportation Off-Site Levies (TOL)
The County is reviewing its Transportation Off-site Levy (TOL) bylaw. The review process is taking much longer than intended, largely because the first set of proposed revisions released in the spring on 2016 were roundly criticized by both residents and the development industry, for different reasons.
An amended version of the proposed new TOL bylaw was released in June. An initial open house was held on June 29th, with another open house scheduled for July 20th. The County is asking for feedback by August 30, 2017. The plan is to bring a final bylaw to Council for its consideration in September 2017.
From Springbank’s perspective, the revised version of amendments to the TOL bylaw is somewhat of an improvement. This version has eliminated the “special area” levies which means that Springbank will no longer have to bear the full $66 million cost of the Harmony flyover.
The proposed TOL still have severe weaknesses and is heavily biased against small landowners wishing to do minor subdivisions – for a more thorough evaluation of the proposed TOL bylaw. click here.
Approved in 2014, Bingham Crossing is a proposed "planned-lifestyle community" whose first phase was set to include a commercial centre, seniors' housing and vast green spaces. At this stage there is every possibility that this development will not proceed in the foreseeable future as there is no anchor tenant and significant development is occurring in and around Winsport which is is only 5 minutes away.
At the time Bingham was approved, the Council of the day was very dismissive of hundred's of Springbank residents’ concerns relative to adequacy of infrastructure as like Springbank Creek it proposes to utilize spray irrigation for waste water management. Despite residents coming out in droves to object to the plan, Council ruled in favour of the development 5-4.