Part of the efforts to make Drumheller a more resilient community is to revamp the overarching frameworks that guide the community.
On Tuesday, August 4, Darwin Durnie, the Chief Resiliency, and Flood Mitigation Officer and Matt Knapik of O2 Planning and Design were a delegation at the Drumheller Town Council meeting. They discussed making major changes to the Municipal Development Plan (MDP) and Drumheller’s Land Use Bylaw,(LUB) and also develop the Downtown Area Revitalization Plan (DARP). These documents set the groundwork for the future of the community.
Durnie explains one of the most important changes in the MDP is to put the Red Deer River in the centre of its planning. After all, the Red Deer River connects neighborhoods and can act as a destination. It can also be destructive if mitigation efforts aren’t taken.
“The most important statement this group has made recently is … ‘Drumheller is a flood community,’” said Knapik. “This fundamentally changes the way you have to approach planning and the discussion of the river, not just technically, but conceptually. What is at the heart of the valley.”
“These three documents (MDP, LUB, and DARP) are really key and this is a really amazing opportunity. To reconfigure them all at once to understand this new reality that the valley sits in with this statement ‘we are a flood community.’”
The MDP is the guiding document however a review of the existing plans noted it fell short in some areas, including a vision for legacy, unclear guidelines about the river, it does not adequately leverage investment and does not celebrate the unique character of the valley and its neighbourhoods, nor does it integrate amenities.
Durnie explains there is a need to modernize the Land Use Bylaw this means a shift from land use-based designation to more on the form. This takes simplifying the bylaw by reducing the number of districts from over 20 to about 8. This would make it easier on the applicant and administration, This adds flexibility, discretion, and recognizes the unique neighbourhoods in Drumheller.
“To use the opportunity of changing the LUB, the MDP, and downtown revitalization all at the same time. It really gives us an opportunity to inspire and try to attract development and doing it through enabling things rather than trying to control,” said Durnie.
“While we know the river can be a threat to our community, for the majority of time it’s an amenity and an economic driver to inspire investment. Our hope is these revised documents will enable development and not control or restrict development.”
They are hoping to present the first reading of the Bylaw this coming fall, and are working to engage the community to learn more about the changes and how it will impact Drumheller. On Thursday, August 13, the Drumheller Mail is hosting a Facebook Live event at 2 p.m. This is an opportunity to learn about the redraft of these documents and provide feedback.