Rocky View County is one of 10 municipal members of the Calgary Metropolitan Region Board (CMRB).
The Board is tasked with developing a long term plan for managed, sustainable growth in the Calgary region.
Board Approves New Regional Growth Plan Despite Opposition From Three Members
On May 21, 2021, the CMRB approved a new Growth Plan for the region. Rocky View County, along with Foothills County and Wheatland County, did not support the final version of the draft Growth Plan. Despite this, the CMRB urban members outvoted the counties and the Plan has been submitted to the provincial Minister of Municipal Affairs, who must give approval before the Plan can be implemented.
There is still an opportunity to appeal to the Minister for changes to the Growth Plan. The County needs your help.
If you aren’t aware of the CMRB, see the background section or visit the CMRB website.
The Growth Plan is important for County residents to understand because it will impact how Rocky View County Council can approve growth and development in the coming years. All development plans that are larger than 50 residential units, or that propose any business, must be approved by the CMRB before it can be built. Most significantly, the City of Calgary must approve it.
If you are curious as to why Rocky View County, Foothills County, and Wheatland County are opposed to the Plan and what it could mean for the County, detailed information is provided below.
Since the approval of the Plan in May, the County has also undertaken a more detailed technical analysis of the potential impacts of the Plan. This information has been sent to Municipal Affairs as part of the County’s ongoing expression of concerns with the Growth Plan.
For a condensed explanation of the Regional Growth Plan, Regional Servicing Plan, and Regional Evaluation Framework, please review our Growth Plan Explainer (PDF).
CMRB documents are available below:
Concerns and Call to Action
Rocky View County Call to Action
- If you have concerns, the time to act is now. Council continues to advocate for the County’s rights, but we need your help.
- Please write your local MLA, the Minister of Municipal Affairs, and the Premier to express your concerns:
Rocky View County Concerns with the Growth Plan
- Creates winners and losers with unfair limitations on development in counties, while allowing business-as-usual in towns/cities.
- Does not allow counties to create new employment areas or supply jobs to regional residents.
- Creates unnecessary red tape and economic uncertainty.
- Prepared with insufficient public engagement.
- Will cost taxpayers money in exchange for dubious benefits.
Rural Opportunity Limited
- Limits residential development to very high density or very low density.
- Limits locations where employment growth can occur in the counties, but not in towns/cities.
- Employment areas are allowed anywhere in towns/cities, but Rocky View County is only allowed to locate them in Joint Planning Areas (Balzac, Janet, and Conrich) or some existing hamlets.
- The Plan does not allow for the provision of limited-service rural industrial areas, which provide a cost-effective option for businesses that do not require a high level of services. An example of this development in the County would be Fulton Industrial Park near Indus.
Impacts on the County and Landowners
- Development in Rocky View County is essential for maintaining our quality of life, providing services to County residents, and keeping your taxes low.
- By limiting the County’s ability to grow according to market demand, the Regional Growth Plan could damage the County’s economic base, resulting in higher taxes or cuts to important services.
- Landowners in large parts of the County may see impacts to their property values if they lose the opportunity to develop and change their land use designation. While urban residents can take advantage of the real estate market and change their land use designation, County residents may not be allowed to pursue this option.
Red Tape and Economic Uncertainty
- The Plan identifies Joint Planning Areas involving multiple municipalities, but then requires that they create a number of additional technical studies and plans.
- For the County, the Balzac area is identified as a Joint Planning area with Airdrie and Calgary. Since extensive planning and studies have already occurred in this area, additional studies are costly and redundant.
- There is a concern that the technical studies and plans could provide an opportunity for urban neighbours to impose additional conditions on development in the County.
Insufficient Public Engagement for the Growth Plan
- The first two rounds of public engagement did not provide regional residents with the information necessary to make an informed decision, and only discussed principles and benefits.
- The third round of public engagement, which allowed residents and businesses to read the draft policies, was disregarded by the consultant and the urban members of the Board.
- Much of the public engagement material was biased in favour of the Plan, and only discussed the benefits without acknowledging the costs or detrimental impacts.
Costs to Taxpayers
- The proposed Plan creates a large number of costly projects that CMRB members will have to undertake, including:
- Revising municipal plans to align with the regional plan.
- Undertaking poorly-defined and costly Context Studies in Joint Planning Areas.
- Paying for additional studies on transportation, transit, environmentally sensitive areas, servicing, and other issues.
- Probable future requirements to participate in joint projects such as regional transit, which may have limited benefits for the rural residents paying for them.
- Funds spent on projects no longer allowed by the Growth Plan will be wasted.
Undermines Local Democracy
- Under the CMRB approach, cities and towns are allowed to develop as they see fit.
- Meanwhile, decisions on land use and development in the counties will be made at the CMRB, by urban officials looking after their own best interests with no accountability to County residents.
- The people making decisions about how your community grows are not elected by you, and they will ignore your concerns.
June 1, 2021
Growth and Servicing Plans submitted to Minister of Municipal Affairs for review and approval.
Plans come into effect after approval of the Minister, expected after the Municipal Election in October 2021 has concluded.
May 21, 2021
CMRB Board Meeting
- Growth and Servicing Plans passed by CMRB vote, with Foothills County, Rocky View County, and Wheatland County voting in opposition.
- County opposition was due to a plan that creates winners and losers by identifying ‘preferred growth areas’, which include all lands in urban municipalities, and severely restricting development outside of them.
- The Growth and Servicing Plans do not have legal force until approved by the Minister of Municipal Affairs. The Plans are currently under review by the Minister, who may approve the Plans with or without amendments, or refuse the Plan as approved by the Board.
May 17, 2021
Rocky View Special Council Meeting
- Consultants and CMRB Administration present most recent version of Growth Plan to Council.
- Rocky View County Council discussed Plan and decided together how to vote on the Plan through the final stages.
- For more information, please watch the CMRB presentation from the May 17 Special Council Meeting. The information presented at the meeting can be found here:
October 2019 – April 2020
HDRCalthorpe prepares the Growth and Servicing Plans through a process that includes:
- Workshops with elected officials from Member Municipalities.
- Workshops with the Technical Advisory Group (administrative staff from each member).
- Online public engagement.
- Review and input from the Board and Land and Servicing Committee.
CMRB hires HDRCalthorpe, an American urban planning consultant, to prepare the Growth and Servicing Plans.
January 1, 2018
The Government of Alberta mandated the Calgary Metropolitan Region Board. The County must participate. Under the legislation, the Board must create a regional Growth Plan and Servicing Plan, which member municipalities must adhere to for future planning and development decisions.
The Calgary Metropolitan Region Board was established by the Province of Alberta in January 2018, with mandatory participation by member municipalities. Rocky View County is one of 10 municipal members of the CMRB. Currently, Reeve Henn is our primary representative, with Councillor Gautreau serving as our alternate on the CMRB Board.
The Board usually meets on a monthly basis, with a break during the summer. There are also three active committees:
- Land Use and Servicing Committee (meets monthly, with a summer break)
- Governance Committee (meets six times per year)
- Advocacy Committee (meets twice per year)
Although each municipality has a representative, Calgary is given a veto over all Board decisions because of the double-majority voting structure (two-thirds of municipalities, with two-thirds of the regional population, is required to approve any decisions). I.e. for a plan to be approved, seven out of 10 members must vote yes and this must always include the City of Calgary.
The Board was tasked with developing a long term plan for managed, sustainable growth in the Calgary region. Once the Plan is approved by the Minister of Municipal Affairs, member municipalities will be required to follow the Plan for all growth and development in their respective municipalities, i.e. all County plans must be approved by the CMRB. The County and other rural municipalities have strong concerns about the Plan's urban focus and restrictions on rural development.
Currently, Board decisions on plans are made using the Interim Regional Growth Plan (link) and Interim Regional Evaluation Framework (IREF).
For more information visit CalgaryMetroRegion.ca.