County Satisfied with Chestermere Annexation Withdrawal
Thursday, March 3, 2016
Rocky View County officials are expressing satisfaction that the spectre of the Chestermere annexation has been removed from County residents and businesses.
Chestermere has announced that they are withdrawing their unprecedented attempt to annex nearly 25,000 acres of County land, including the communities of Conrich and Prince of Peace, with its large extended care facility.
"It would be too strong to say we're pleased with Chestermere Council for making the right decision in abandoning this annexation. Their ill-fated actions cost Rocky View County, the Province, and the citizens of Chestermere a great deal of time and money. It caused many of our senior citizens, residents, and business owners great stress. The annexation attempt should never have happened, and we're satisfied Chestermere has finally recognized their error," said County Reeve Greg Boehlke.
The annexation was attempted after Chestermere expressed concerns over the County's Conrich Area Structure Plan (ASP). Chestermere opposed development in Rocky View County surrounding the large CN Logistics Park near Conrich, even though that development has been identified for some years in the County's municipal development plan. Chestermere was consulted during the plan's creation, and was fully aware of the County's approach.
According to Chestermere's mayor, the City had "no other choice" but to attempt annexation to stop the plan moving forward, despite the County repeatedly pointing out that the Alberta Municipal Government Act (MGA) contains strong mechanisms for dealing with inter-municipal concerns.
Early on, Rocky View County advised Chestermere that their annexation approach was inappropriate, could be viewed as an abuse of process, and was an affront to the intent of the MGA.
Over the years that the County developed the Conrich ASP, Chestermere's issues were a constantly moving target as the County attempted to work with its neighbour. County Council approved the ASP to set the County's position, which then required Chestermere to clearly state their concerns.
The next step was for Chestermere to use the proper MGA processes so that the two sides could address these issues. Chestermere has now filed the proper appeal of the Conrich ASP, and the County and the City will now move to mediation. The Province's Municipal Government Board has set early May as the deadline for completing mediation.
"Things are now moving forward as they should, and Rocky View County will continue to embrace any legitimate ideas our neighbours may have about making the region strong," Boehlke said.
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