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RVC Council Chambers needs major housecleaning

Re: "Bruce McAllister's Reading between the lines with the NDP government" page 7 of the April 4th Rocky View Weekly Edition.

I found this letter to be less than fully disclosing of Bruce McAllister's motivation and am compelled to offer my comments to add balance and perspective to his views.

McAllister's criticism is directed at Bill 21: The Modernized Municipal Government Act, which , among other issues, is meant to address the often chaotic land development situation in municipal districts that abut major urban centres in Alberta. McAllister is the executive director for a lobby of landowners in Rocky View County (RVC) which advocates unfettered development and urbanization of large tracts of land and tranportation corridors that surround Calgary on three sides.

This mantra also has collateral consequences for the communities of Cochrane, Airdrie and Chestermere. He therefore has a strong bias in favour of serving his masters to the greatest possible extent and his comments must be read as being largely self-serving in doing his job in opposition to what will in essence be a better managed approach to regional planning and development when this bill is implemented.

The existing system pits political jurisdiction against each other in competition for development. McAllister advocates for greater competition, implying this should be a good thing for all residents of RVC. In reality, he has no interest in the welfare of any of us unless we are a part of the small minority of large property interests who benefit from maintaining the status quo.

In anticipation of this legislation, there is a flurry of activity by the "landed aristocracy" in RVC who are interested in moving to monetize their holdings by having development approved before this legislation is enacted. Rezoning and subdividing create significant increases in value of the land held by these interests, even if development does not occur for many years following.

The voting record of the current council for RVC demonstrates that a majority of members strongly support development, while conveniently ignoring the adverse impacts that such activity has on our urban neighbours and infrastructure within RVC itself.

Bill 21 will not practically eliminate lifestyle choice. There is no shortage of quality building sites in RVC for those who favour a rural life. The existing system of entertaining developments without respectfully considering the impact of approval on adjacent communities and many of the existing residents of RVC is unsatisfactory.

McAllister's advocacy runs the risk of creating more "parasitic development" by RVC in an era where urban sprawl should be discouraged. Given the fiscal position that Alberta is facing for the foreseeable future, funding for infrastructure to support the lifestyle choices that he promotes just won't be there.

The ultimate solution to the issue is a major housecleaning of RVC council chambers this October. We need representatives who put residents first rather than those who play the "lap dog role" for cronyism and unsustainable development.

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