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


  1. do you mean gold creek

  2. yeah I did, thanks....maybe freudien slip...was gold now lost

  3. so Gary, what about the river run and bridgate lands. That subject has been very quiet the last few months. Has councel kept tabs on these projects? What is happening with them? What is Bridgecreek saying?
    Where is Bridgecreek?

  4. Gary, thanks for the article! Made good reading with the morning coffee.