Chestermere’s Appeal of Conrich Plan Dismissed
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
An appeal filed by the city of Chestermere against Rocky View County’s Conrich Area Structure Plan has been dismissed, upholding the County’s comprehensive plans for the hamlet area.
In a process that lasted more than a year, the Province’s Municipal Government Board issued a ruling on May 10 that the County’s Conrich Area Structure Plan (ASP) has no detriment to the city of Chestermere. Chestermere had argued the ASP would negatively impact the city, but County officials successfully countered those concerns with detailed, factual information on provisions for transportation, policing, fire protection, recreation, storm water management, and more.
“We’re pleased, but not surprised by the ruling,” says Rocky View County Reeve Greg Boehlke. “All along we’ve maintained that our plans are detailed, sound, and respectful of our neighbouring municipalities.”
While the County was successful in the Chestermere challenge, the victory did not come without cost. Rocky View County estimates its total price tag for defending against the appeal was over $500,000. The city of Chestermere also incurred significant costs of their own.
“I’ll be blunt in saying that if Chestermere had behaved like a good neighbour and worked with us we could have avoided this whole exercise. All that money and time could have been used in both of our municipalities for roads, policing, fire protection, recreation, and other important projects,” Reeve Boehlke says.
The County points to a similar Conrich challenge by the City of Calgary that was resolved when the two sides sat down and talked through their differences. The result was a mediated agreement that successfully meets the needs of both municipalities without the cost of full Municipal Government Board hearings.
“I hope Chestermere officials – and all area municipalities – now understand the importance of working together like good neighbours in a spirit of co-operation and respect. It’s the responsible approach for governments to take on behalf of their taxpayers, and the right approach for the future,” Reeve Boehlke says.
The Municipal Government Board (MGB) appears to agree with the good neighbour approach. In their ruling on the appeal, the Board wrote, “The Conrich ASP is consistent with the Rocky View MDP (County Plan) which contains inter-municipal planning policies for Chestermere and Rocky View to work together to address co-ordination of plans. The MGB observes that there were many instances in the plans and documents presented by both municipalities that they had previously worked together, and, the MGB sees no reason why this practice cannot continue.”
Rocky View County’s deputy reeve and councillor for the Conrich area says his constituents will be pleased that the appeal has been dismissed.
“Conrich area landowners have been in limbo for far too long, and I’m pleased there can finally be some certainty to the future,” says Councillor Earl Solberg. “Conrich is an area of tremendous opportunity for residents and the business community, and an important part of Rocky View County’s long-term success. After years of planning and consultation, everyone is excited to finally be able to move forward.”
Reeve Boehlke says, “Rocky View County will be reaching out to Chestermere to start rebuilding our relationship. Although this MGB ruling is a clear victory for the County, we still maintain our values and believe in working together for success.”
The dismissal of Chestermere’s Conrich appeal now means that development can proceed according to the Area Structure Plan. That plan calls for a dynamic residential-industrial-commercial hub where people can live, work, and play.
Planning & Development