Councils in both Kneehill and Starland County passed an Intermunicipal Development Plan (IDP) which will allow for the two municipalities, which share a common border, to have better collaboration in planning for development along this shared border.
Under the Municipal Government Act (MGA), an IDP is required for all municipalities which share a common border to foster collaborative planning between municipalities. Previously, both Starland and Kneehill County agreed to be exempt, but determined upon further reflection there were some benefits to adopting an IDP.
Starland County adopted the IDP on December 14 following a public hearing as its council had no concerns with the presented document, and any feedback received during the public hearing was dealt with during the meeting; Kneehill County also held a public hearing on December 13, however it was noted there were some concerns.
“We know, because of the process Starland County used, which was to approve all of the readings, that kind of leaves us in a place where the concern we had will not be addressed,” stated Deputy Reeve Ken King during the regular Tuesday, January 24 Kneehill County council meeting.
Planning and Development manager Barb Hazelton noted, while she is aware of concerns over wording within a particular section of the IDP pertaining to resource extraction and renewable energy development, this section is superseded by the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC), which is outside the IDP. Ms. Hazelton explained changing the wording in this section would not change anything in this regard.
She also noted, although there are residential properties along the shared border, the majority of land along this border is Crown land and there will be very little opportunity to develop on these lands.
Although council had some concerns, it was noted the IDP “will allow both parties to come to the table when different development comes together” and allow Starland and Kneehill to have discussions at that point.
Despite these concerns, Deputy Reeve Ken King stated he was prepared to move forward with the process, but wanted to ensure council members had had the opportunity to express any concerns prior to passing the IDP.
Kneehill County council unanimously passed second and third reading and adopted the IDP as presented.