Monday, 27 April 2009

Land Use

Looking west from the Brocket hill towards Crowsnest Pass you can see Turtle Mountain just left of centre in this photo (click the pic to see a larger image).

One can guess from this picture that there would not be an overabundance of land available for development in this pass through the Rockies and one would not be far from wrong. Crowsnest Pass is about 33 kilometres long and up to 16 km wide and currently houses approximately 5800 full time and ove 20% more weekend or part time residents, most of whom live in the current urban areas of the pass in single family residences. Our land base is constricted with, steep slopes, important wildlife habitat, wildlife corridors, and property owned by Alberta Sustainable Resource Development. If the Pass is to grow in a sustainable fashion responsible land use planning is critical.

Drive out of Calgary in any direction and once you leave the urban sprawl you will see the obscene spread of country residential development on land that was once used for growing grain or raising cattle. Those acreages are located with the Municipal District of Rocky View which surrounds the city of Calgary. That MD does not have the restraints on developable land our Pass does. If they wished, and landowners desired more subdivisions, they could develop in this fashion, taking away agricultural land and open spaces, for a very long time. The people and council of Rocky View recognized the waste and just recently their municipal council adopted a new Municipal Development Plan stopping country residential development in favour of higher density development within the existing villages located in the MD. They chose to decide how they should grow.

Here at home council, in the past month, approved extending the reach of country residential development into one of the few remaining areas of the Pass not already zoned Grouped Country Residential with the rezoning and subsequent approval of an area structure plan for country residential development at the north east end of our municipality along Gold Creek. Council subsequently cut funding for a new municipal development plan from the budget and went on to approve that budget.

The Regional Advisory Council of the Land Use Framework will be considering MDPs as part of their local consultation process. The adoption of a new MDP, here, developed with full public consultation would have given our municipality the statutory documentation needed to show the RAC what the people of Crowsnest Pass want to see in terms of responsible land use. Our collective voice would not be ignored in Land Use Framework deliberations.

Fortunately, the Province is taking land use seriously. The Land Use Framework appears to be based on strong conservation values and much of what many (including myself) have been advocating will likely be achieved through the Land Use Framework process. Sadly, though, we have to wait for the Province to pick up were we failed.

A press release and background information on the Alberta Land Stewardship Act can be found here In the folder you will find a number of pdf files. They are arranged in proper order for reading

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

A real surprise

Not a post about Crowsnest Pass, fishing, or politics. Instead a link to some amazing entertainment. If you have a few minutes check out this youtube link (no embedding) you will be glad you did.

As a young guy I had the opportunity to attend a number of broadway shows in London's theatre district. The first was Gypsy and I went only because a young lady from Israel suggested we would enjoy it. It was enthralling from the opening song and I could not get enough. This video recreates that incredible rush I felt when I first heard a live musical.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Heritage Initiative receives award

In this earlier post, Where Have We Been? Where Are We Going?, I wrote about the successful Heritage Driving Route project developed by the Crowsnest Pass Heritage Initiative. The program is well under way complete with highway signage, route markers, and driving map. The Initiative is now finalizing completion of the story telling portion of the enterprise, which will include kiosks and additional signage through out the Pass on the Heritage Driving Route. For all its hard work the Heritage Initiative has unexpectedly received the above reward from The Chinook Country Tourist Association.

Congratulations to all involved in the innovative program. You have shown everyone what new ideas and hard work can bring to our community. Well done!

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Crowsnest Pass Dreamer

Just a quick post to inform everyone of an interesting new Crowsnest Pass blog: Crowsnest Pass Dreamer. I have also added a link under Crowsnest Pass blogs. The blog looks as though it will be presenting some positive ideas, direction, and selling points for our Pass. Take a look.