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Another illustration of what is wrong in RVC - Conrich appeals

I believe Rocky View County is being disingenuous in portraying the Municipal Government Board's (MGB) resolution of the appeals against the Concrich ASP as an unmititgated victory for the county. They are emphasizing the dismissal of Chestermere's appeal, but ignoring the resolution of Calgary's appeal.

The MGB settled Calgary's appeal by imposing the mediated settlement reached earlier between the county and Calgary. It acknowledged that the Conrich ASP, approved by council, was detrimental to Calgary. Its terms will significantly increase costs for future Conrich development.

Before any new development occurs in Conrich, the county will have to pay its share of the costs those developments will impose on Calgary's transportation infrastructure - something Rocky View has never had to do before. The county will need to restructure its transportation off-site levies so Conrich-area developers pay these costs. If not, it will be county residents' tax dollars that will pay these major bills.

Calgary's insistence on the implementation of an effective regional stormwater management system will also dramatically increase Conrich development costs. Negotiations for a regional system have been underway for the last five years with no end in sight. Until then, new developments must comply with zero stormwater discharge standards - a new concept for Rocky View.

The county's updated stormwater standards require that post-development run-off volumes do not exceed pre-development volumes. This is much less onerous than no run-off. To achieve zero discharge, new development will have to dedicate the equivalent square footage to stormwater ponds as it has in total impermeable surfaces (e.g. building, roads, etc).

A regional stormwater management system will not come cheap. Current estimates for the county's share is a staggering $50 million. Based on the county's track record, the odds are significant that county taxpayers will be left with the bill for this as well. The county assured residents that development would quickly pay the $135 million cost for the East Rocky View water/wastewater infrastructure. Now, more than a decade later, $90 million still needs to be collected from developers.

I also believe the county is being hypocritical in calling Chestermere a bad neighbour. A good neighbour would not have ignored repeated requests from Calgary to mediate their differences over the Conrich ASP until it was backed into a corner by Calgary appealing to the MGB.

This unneighbourly behaviour isn't new for Rocky View. Forging ahead with the Glenbow Ranch ASP when both Cochrane and Calgary had asked for delays to resolve their concerns with it is just another example.

Chestermere's appeal cost the county more than $500,00 in legal fees. In calling the MGB decision a win for Rocky View, the county has bad-mouthed Chestermere and ignored the substantive changes that will be needed to address Calgary's successful demonstration that the Conrich ASP was detrimental to it.

In reality, rather than a complete vindication of Rocky View's behaviour, we have another illustration of all that is wrong in Rocky View.

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