Springbank ASPs - Public Hearings: Feb. 16th - Have your say from the comfort of your own home
The public hearings for the North and South Springbank ASPs will be livestreamed on the RVC website on Tuesday, February 16th. We hope that many of you sent in written submissions. Whether or not you did, there is another opportunity to have your voice heard – pre-recorded audio or video presentations. These replace the traditional in-person presentations at the public hearing. The pre-recorded presentations must be uploaded to the RVC website before noon on Feb. 15th. Details for this are in the "how to guide" below.
We’ve prepared a “how to” guide for people who need help with the techy aspects of the audios/videos. You can access it here. These aren’t complicated once you have a few pointers.
The presentations don’t need to be long or complicated. Pick a few of the issues we summarize in this email and tell council why they are important to you. You can have your voice heard from the comfort of your own home.
Another important point – there will be separate public hearings for the two ASPs. As a result, if you have concerns about both, you can make two presentations. Be sure to include the bylaw numbers: North Springbank ASP is Bylaw C-8031-2020 & South Springbank ASP is Bylaw C-8064-2020.
We have posted our detailed submissions on the North and South Springbank ASPs here.
The following are some of the key points:
Resident input largely, if not completely, ignored.
The ASPs’ vision, goals, and many of the introductory paragraphs for specific policies have “motherhood” statements that reflect resident input. Then, the policies deliver totally contrary outcomes.
Residents made it clear that they chose to live in Springbank because of its “tranquil, rural country residential” lifestyle. If people want urban-style housing, they can live in Calgary, Cochrane, Harmony, Langdon. Instead of protecting what residents value about their community, the ASPs facilitate dramatically increased population density and substantially more commercial and industrial development.
Residents made it clear they wanted one ASP for their one community. However, Council pushed for two ASPs, saying one was “too big”. The County's updates say the two ASPs “better capture the distinct character and goals for the north and south areas of Springbank”. However, other than segregating the commercial / industrial uses into the North ASP, the ASPs are virtually identical. That suggests the County sees North Springbank as becoming a western version of Balzac.
Servicing concerns for higher density development not addressed.
Residents raised serious concerns about increasing residential densities without addressing servicing options – that stand-alone water and wastewater systems don’t work on parcels smaller than 2 acres. It is not sustainable to pipe in potable water and dispose of treated wastewater on-site. Water tables rise, aggravating existing flooding issues.
The ASPs assert that they include “cost effective and sustainable [servicing] options” to minimize environmental impacts and to ensure that land uses are compatible with servicing capabilities. However, the proposed piped water and wastewater regional system serves almost exclusively commercial and industrial development and the high-density urban interface area along the Calgary border. The ASPs will add almost 25,000 future residents with no piped wastewater systems.
This regional piped water/wastewater system is anticipated to cost over $600 million at full build out and over $200 million in the near term. The ASP asserts that these costs will be “paid by developers”. However, there is no information on how the substantial upfront costs will be financed. We’ve all seen how unsuccessful Rocky View’s “if we build it, they will come” strategy has been for the east Rocky View water/wastewater system – twenty years out and levies are nowhere close to recouping its costs.
Cluster residential development to become Springbank’s “new normal”
Residents indicated they only supported cluster residential for special purposes such as seniors housing. Despite this input, the ASPs have designated 30% of the total area to cluster residential development at a minimum of 1.5 dwelling units per acre (upa), with the ability to increase to 2 upa. Seniors housing and other alternative housing options are already approved for Harmony, Bingham Crossing & Pradera Springs – all in or adjacent to Springbank.
Cluster residential is being presented as providing more “open space” than traditional country residential.
o However, since this open space will be owned and maintained by homeowners’ associations, it is unlikely that it will be accessible to anyone outside the immediate cluster residential community.
Agriculture becomes a transitional land use
Residents emphasized the importance of retaining rural, agricultural land as an essential part of Springbank’s character. However, the ASPs eliminate agriculture as a land use moving forward. It is treated as a transitional use until residential or commercial/industrial development occurs.
Commercial / industrial development expanded
The North Springbank ASP dedicates at least 20% of its area to commercial/ industrial development. This is even though the background reports do not support the need for this much. Those reports indicate that already-approved development in Harmony and Bingham Crossing and the land available immediately adjacent to the airport are adequate to meet anticipated demand.
Urban interface areas threaten to transform eastern Springbank
Both the North and South Springbank ASPs have “urban interface areas” with substantial commercial development and 8 upa residential development. There are no meaningful transitions between these proposed urban areas and existing country residential development. How does that preserve Springbank’s “tranquil, rural community”?
Dramatic population increases that make no sense
Based on information from the ASPs and their Servicing Strategy, the combined ASPs have a full build out population of 54,775 residents – 24,755 of whom will not have piped services.
In contrast the Calgary Metropolitan Region Board projects that all of Rocky View will grow by 8,000 residents in the next decade and by 17,000 in the next twenty years. These don’t fit together – the County advised its traffic consultants to assume full build out by 2040, so the timeframes are comparable.
Gridlock coming to Springbank roads
The transportation study prepared for the ASPs concludes that, at full build out, the planned populations will require 4-way stops at all intersections along both Springbank Road and Township Road 250.