Wheatland County is asking residents to get involved with the final round of public engagement for the draft growth plan by the Calgary Metropolitan Region Board (CMRB) before the plan is submitted to the Minister of Municipal Affairs.
Council members previously expressed their concerns over the draft plan and the benefits--or lack thereof--for the county during the regular council meeting on Tuesday, February 16 and reiterated these concerns in their call to action on Wednesday, March 24.
Wheatland County Reeve Amber Link told the Mail, “Wheatland County is mandated by the provincial government to sit on the CMRB. We continue to advocate for reconsideration of the CMRB structure and are asking Alberta Municipal Affairs to remove Wheatland County from the CMRB based on a number of considerations, including the fact Wheatland County has relatively insignificant growth to manage in the timeframe of the growth plan.”
Wheatland County is one of 10 municipalities incorporated in the growth plan, including Rockyview County and the nearby Town of Strathmore. However, only approximately one-eighth of Wheatland County’s total landmass--a “panhandle” connected Calgary to Strathmore--is included in the growth plan.
Council was presented with the draft growth plan by consultants from HDR Calthorpe during the Tuesday, February 16 regular council meeting.
The draft showed predicted growth over the next 50 years for CMRB municipalities; however, Wheatland County is not projected to see any growth and Strathmore would also see minimal growth opportunities.
Wheatland County council has several concerns regarding the proposed draft, in particular the disproportionate growth and opportunities given to urban municipalities over rural areas.
Another concern has been the costs associated with being part of CMRB.
“What we’ve invested comes out, over the last year, at $25 to $30 on the tax bill to each and every one of our ratepayers in Wheatland County,” Reeve Link said during the February meeting.
Since the board was established in January 2018, Wheatland County estimates more than $235,000 has been contributed to CMRB through staff and elected officials’ time involvement. According to the call to action, this equates to approximately $262 to the approximately 897 residents within the panhandle.
Wheatland County is not the only municipality with reservations against the drafted growth plan. Rockyview County and the Municipal District of Foothills County have also expressed opposition to the current growth plan. M.D. Foothills County has also put forward a call to action to its residents, asking them to get involved and reach out to their MLAs.
CMRB must submit the growth plan to Minister of Municipal Affairs Ric McIver by June 1.
The final public engagement is open until Friday, April 8.