August activity summary 2017.

RUNNING MAN.png

County activity throughout the summer has remained high.

Work is underway on the partial twining of a section of Country Hills Blvd., between Rocky Ridge Road and 12 Mile Coulee Road. This is a City road that boarders Bearspaw.  The Bearspaw residents effected by this change met with me and the County Manager and we successfully convinced the City to change the road design to improve the outcomes for County residents. Good.

Construction is also underway on the twining of south 12 Mile Coulee Road and the widening of 80th Ave (twp road 252). This project is to be done over two years and next year will see the south portion of 12 Mile Coulee Rd.  east of Watermarkwidened and the hill slope reduced. Other improvements are also being considered.

I have confirmed recently that the long awaited widening and improvements to the northern portion of Bearspaw Road is still a priority and work continues. The selection of the Contractor and the Contractor’s own scheduling as well as some surveying and access approvals has resulted in some delays, but the focus remains to complete it this year, weather permitting.

The condition of portions of the northern section of 12 mile Coulee Road remains a concern for some and I am working to see if we can get it resurfaced a little sooner than the County’s road plans calls for. Also the safety of the intersection at 12 Mile Coulee Road and the western end of Country Hills Blvd needs to be improved. Thank you to several residents who have brought these items to my attention.

The County recently hired Doug Hafichuk as the Supervisor Capital Infrastructure Projects, Engineering Services. I met with Doug and his staff and provided detail on each of the 15 different Storm water and drainage issues I am aware of in our division. Many of these are not currently a problem, others we are actively working on. Mr. Hafichuk then followed up to visit each of the sites in person, which I am grateful for. This fall will see more progress on storm water solutions.

In July I was successful (thanks to the help of many who sent me their concerns) in getting Council to agree to send an official letter from the Council to the Provincial Ministers and Premier asking for the STAR gravel pit, just east of Rocky Ridge Road in the City, to restrict their operation from 24 hours to no more than 12 hours day.  The letter has been sent and I remain hopeful that the impact on Bearspaw residents from this Provincially operated pit can be further mitigated.

For the County rules on gravel pits, the re-worked Aggregate Resource Policy is to be released again for public input. The hope is the final version will be approved sometime before the end of March 2018. I also believe this new version will ensure much better outcomes for Bearspaw residents well into the future.

For over a year, and through the summer, the County has been working on changes to the “Transportation Off-site Levy” (TOL). This is a fee that is charged to offset the County road construction costs related to new development or subdivisions.  I felt the fees first proposed were too high ($25,000/ acre) and council supported a rework. County staff have been adjusting the rules and fees to make it more equitable. We still have a way to go in my mind, particularly for the smaller acreage owners looking to subdivide part of their home acreage land. Some amendments will likely be proposed. Council is scheduled to make some decisions on this levy during the  September 12 council meeting.

The new Bearspaw Gas/TIM HORTON, after a little pushing, is now finally under construction. I have been in touch with the owner of the Tim Horton Franchise who will be operating out of that station. They are behind schedule and are eager to open as soon as possible. They were the same group that contributed to our Community Heritage Celebration. A great group of folks eager to be part of the community here.

The Glenbow Ranch Area Structure Plan has now been completely passed and approved by the County. All the amendments I brought forward, on behalf of local residents, were approved by Council. Although Calgary and perhaps Cochrane have their own plans for this County land, I hope this made-in-Rocky-View plan, that compliments the Park beautifully, continues to move forward.

During the last few months the County has been running a “Recreation Needs Assessment” for the Rocky View West and the Bearspaw recreation areas. Your volunteer Recreation Board, chaired by Mr. Richard Wadsworth, and the Bearspaw Lifestyle Centre, Chaired by newly elected Mr. Chris Sharkey, will be looking at the results of the survey to help shape existing and new recreation opportunities in Bearspaw. These volunteers boards do an excellent job and I am grateful to be able to serve with them.  (BTW … A big Thank You is in order for Bertha Staddon for serving with excellence as the Chair of the Lifestyle Centre Board for several years)

To find out more and to be heard please come out to the Saturday morning COMMUNITY UPDATEon September 16th , 9 am to 11 am at the Bearspaw Lifestyle Centre. I’ll have the coffee on…

 Also check out more on mywebsite at www.ericlowther.ca.

Thank you for allowing me to serve,

 

Eric Lowther, Rocky View Councillor – Bearspaw (Division 8)

 

Council support amendments to Glenbow Ranch ASP

On Tuesday July 25th, 2017 it looks like the amended Glenbow Ranch Area Structure plan will be fully passed by the County Council. Administration is recommending that the amended plan be approved. At the at July 11, 2017 meeting I was grateful for the strong support from Council for my amendments. The amendments were in response to what we heard from local residents at the public hearing and included lowering the density of potential development in two areas . 

This is another example of how working with and listening to the community results in better outcomes that can be more broadly supported. Thank you to Michael O'Krancy, from the Bearspaw Village Area and Al Vanderputten and Hans Hirschmanner from Upper Bearspaw who all helped me to coordinate meetings with  large numbers of the local residents. At these meetings I was able to explain some of the details of the plan and my perspective. I was also able to discuss and hear the priorities of the people adjacent to the plan area. This community engagement is greatly appreciated as it helps me to represent and serve the people of our community more effectively.

For another perspective  read Al Vanderputten's editorial in the Rocky View Weekly. (click here)

Go to  Rockyview.ca for more info ...click here

Night noise - Stoney Trail Aggregate Resource (STAR) pit.

The STAR gravel pit, on the east side of Rocky Ridge Road, has started up  running longer hours again. They have a provincial authority to crush gravel and operate the pit 24 hours a day.  County pits and other provincial pits  in the Calgary region are limited to 12 hours a day and less on weekends and statutory holidays.

The night time noise when STAR is running is worse then ever.

At the July 11, 2017 Council meeting  I presented the history of resident concerns and the rational supporting the following motion:

Administration draft a letter, with the Reeve as signatory, to the Ministers of Transportation and Environment requesting the Ministers restrict the 24 hour, seven day a week operating authority of the Stony Trail Aggregate Resource pit (STAR) gravel pit, to no more than a 12 hour daytime operation, Monday to Saturday, and no operation on Sundays or statutory holidays.

Council strongly supported the motion.  

Thank you to the many Bearspaw folks who sent emails in support of this motion. Also thank you to Mike Lemmer, Ruth Ludwig and Bertha Staddon for helping me continue to coordinate action on this  issue. Community results are best.

The Reeve is completing the letter this week and it will be sent. 

I will be distributing the letter to the community and coordinating additional followup action.

The goal is to see the rules for this provincially operated pit changed for the benefit of all the surrounding communities.

 

Delayed Gravel Extraction Applications get to Council

Three applications from adjacent landowners for land-use re-designations, that would allow for the potential of gravel extraction have been before the County for two years or more. These applications for gravel extraction are NOT in the Bearspaw area or in the Bearspaw Area Structure Plan. There are no applications to the County for gravel extraction operations within the Bearspaw ASP area at this time. The current applications are north of Cochrane and 17 km away (straight line) from the Bearspaw community centre (Cochrane is 13 km). These applicants were put on hold for a year while the Aggregate Resource Policy (ARP) is being developed.  Now that there has now been a further extension of the development of the new ARP policy, Council agreed that we could no longer put off making the decision on these pending applications. They would have to be considered on their own merits within existing guidelines. It was also clarified that they would be required to meet any eventual new ARP within 3 years.

On July 11, 2017 Council approved the land-use designation for one of the applications and gave pending approval for the other two. Council correctly mandated that before any work could begin, all three applicants must prepare Master Site Development Plans that would address the cumulative impacts and identify acceptable mitigation strategies for affected properties within a mile and a half radius from the property lines of the gravel operations. The current target is for these Master Site Development Plans and the agreed to mitigation strategies to be reviewed and voted upon by Council prior to October 16, 2017.

I support Council’s direction to insist upon addressing the cumulative impacts of adjacent gravel mining operations prior to the approval of the individual master site development plans of each operation.

I support Council’s direction to require acceptable mitigation strategies for affected properties from these operations within a mile and a half from the property lines, prior to approval of the development plans.

I support that the plans specify that any future haul routes will be on provincial highways and not on County roads.

Aggregate Resource Policy (next year?)

Although the Rocky View County plan specifies some rules and guidelines for gravel extraction it also calls for an Aggregate Resource Policy (ARP) to be developed.  Over two years ago the policy development process began. Input was received and much of it was from Bearspaw area residents. Many felt the first draft missed the mark therefore a redraft is soon to be completed and released for public review (August 2017). County staff have also worked to include the responses to the many questions and concerns that were heard during the policy development process.

Council voted to extend the public input period on the new draft ARP beyond the summer of 2017 so that the summer holiday season would not result in diminished public engagement. Currently the target is to have the new policy ratified on or before March 2018 –  years from when the policy development process started.

I believe the revised ASP will provide more long-term relief for the Bearspaw area from gravel mining operations than we’ve ever had before. One concern I have is that now that the ARP may not be ratified until after the municipal election (October 16, 2017) – there is a risk that a new council (whomever they may be) could take the process in a new direction that could potentially diminish improved long-term outcomes for Bearspaw.

more at rockyview.ca

 

Bearspaw Community Update May 9th report

We had a large turnout again at the community update on Saturday morning May 6. Congratulations to the Bearspaw Lions Club for the excellent job on the newly renovated Bearspaw Lions Community Hall. Everyone at the meeting was impressed with the updated facility. Many thanks to those who helped including Mrs. Anita Carey for providing the food, Alan Bishop and the Lions Club for setting up the facility, the guest speakers and to...(click for more...)

Community Update - Newly RenovatedBearspaw Lions Hall (nice)

Community Update - Newly RenovatedBearspaw Lions Hall (nice)

Public Hearing for Glenbow Ranch Area Structure Plan - April 25, 2017

On Tuesday April  25th the Glenbow Ranch Area Structure Plan (ASP) will be presented at a public hearing in Council Chambers at the County Offices. 

More than 2 years ago (before my time on Council)  Rocky View Council approved the terms of reference for the Area Structure Planning process for Glenbow Ranch ASP. After many meetings and revisions the final draft plan will  now be presented for a decision. 

The 119 page plan which will be presented can be obtained from the County or directly from the website. (click Glenbow Ranch ASP)

If the ASP is approved it will provide the vision for the physical development of the area and community. If approved, detailed concept plans and some land use re-designations would still be required, complete with public input and Council approval, before any work could begin on the lands within the plan area.

Approximately 1/3 of the Glenbow ASP is in  Division 8 (east of Lochend road and south of the 1A highway). and the other 2/3's are in Division 9, extending to the eastern Cochrane town limits.

The detailed Council agenda for April 25th and related information should be posted on line, and/or available in printed form, during the afternoon of April 18th. (click here)

 

 

 

Community Heritage Celebration coming JUNE 24 !!!

crowd.jpg

BearspawCommunty Heritage Celebration that is ramping up to be a great event on June 24th.  Events, great speakers, displays, prizes, costumes, music, local history revealed, food and fun are all part of this coming together of the Community. There are many groups active in our community, but rarely do they come together around one event. June 24th is the day to do it. Fifty years ago to the day, in 1967, the homesteader families of our area were honored. The names of over one hundred families where listed on a bronze shield and attached to a large stone local to our area.  That year was Canada’s centennial.

This year is Canada’ sesquicentennial (150 years) and that same homesteader rock and shield is now located next at the Historical School House in the heart of Bearspaw. The Bearspaw Historical Society, together with many other organizations in our community, are hosting this all day event which will culminate witha dinner honoring the homestead families who still reside in the area. This will be an all day event with food and fun for young and not so young. Plan to drop in and be part of it. To help out and join in theplanning to make the day - great fun for all -  contact Louise McAuley at davelou@telus.net or call 403-208-4300 or myself at 403.815.4999.

 

 

 

REWORKING the Aggregate (Gravel) Policy

The County's Draft Aggregate Policy is being revised.

The County's Draft Aggregate Policy is being revised.

The County's Draft Aggregate Policy is being revised. Thank you to the many Bearspaw residents who copied me on more than 50 emails with expressed concerns and recommendations to the County. These comments ranged from a couple of paragraphs  to others with up to 15 pages of detailed critique. The Lowther family also submitted our concerns and comments. I know of several others who followed up their submissions with personal discussions with staff at the County offices.

Although the way people expressed themselves varied, it seems to me that the key themes and concerns are similar. Many submitted detailed recommendations for specific improvements.

My understanding at this point is that County staff are collating all feedback received and will use the feedback to revise the draft Aggregate Resource Plan.  (see County Site)

I believe that the input received  will result in a new draft, hopefully sometime in April, if not before. 

Thank you for your help. It makes a difference.

South Bearspaw news

 TWINNING OF South portion of  12 MILE COULEE ROAD AND other news in the area

It is on again.

In the fall the detailed plan for the twinning of south 12 Mile Coulee Rd was presented to  125 interested residents in the area who were able to attend the public meeting I hosted. The work was planned to be completed this year. (click here to see the plan presentation)

About six week later I released information to say the project was on hold because the costs for the City were higher than expected and money was flowing to higher priority roads. I presented the summary concerns and priorities of local residents at an  Inter-municipal meeting with the County and City of Calgary. (see summary)

The City has reconsidered and now will be proceeding and spreading the project over two years. The first year portion will involve twinning the northern portion (red arrow above pic) and moving utility servicing safely underground. The second phase (white arrow above pic) will be completed next year.

Other good news.

Emergency Services

Emergency Services

The County Emergency Services has now formally requested the City to complete the upgrade for use of the emergency access road at the south end of 12 Mile Coulee Rd. with  access through Tuscany.  

The City has indicated they are willing to move forward on this. To me this is critical and must be completed soon. This will provide a  much needed permanent second access for emergency vehicles into the south Bearspaw area.

 

Some Stormwater melt

Some Stormwater melt

Some Stormwater melt normally should flow down the west ditch of 12 Mile Coulee Rd., south of 80th Ave. (Twp rd. 252), but heavy accumulation of plant debris and ice and snow have blocked the flow. The result is that water has run onto the Lynx Golf course and some properties. I met with people effected. Both the County and City staff  have now also met on site to examine the issues and the City has agreed (their road)  to do  maintenance of the drainage ditch immediately to restore the proper flow. The City has indicated long term solutions will also be put in place so this issue will not be a recurring problem. 

 

FYI  - Last week,  County staff performed a site visit with the City personnel to determine how much water was actually leaving the Watermark ponds and it was determined that the ponds were functioning as designed and releasing a negligible amount of water to the ditch.

The real issue is remediation works to the ditch along with better establishing ditch banks in certain areas (Lynx Ridge Golf Course) will allow the ditch to better convey water and correct the issues.

The impact of the Calgary Growth Management Board for Rocky View Landowners

Minister Anderson

Minister Anderson

A Growth Management Board for the Calgary Region is being mandated by the current Provincial Government. 

The main problem with what is being rolled out is that the decision making model gives Calgary heavy decision making  dominance over the other municipalities - particularly  Rocky View. 

Under the proposed protocol, Calgary has control of the region well beyond their city limits.

ROCKY VIEW COUNTY POSITION...

Rural municipalities should have an equal say in governance...  (more...)

One vote per one municipality (i) supports the intent of the Municipal Government Act of recognizing municipalities’ autonomy, and (ii) acknowledges that the majority of growth will occur within rural jurisdictions through the process of annexation.

For more detail or Rocky View's position .... CLICK HERE

Let the Minister and Premier know what you think.  Click for Contact info etc.

See the example note sent by one of our residents (Mr. Brent Clark) and the answer the Minister sent back.  He needs to hear from others.

Rocky View County is required by the Minister and Premier to be one of the 10 Municipalities in the new Calgary Region (7 are urban municipalities and 3 are rural in nature). Rocky View is impacted the most as the County surrounds Calgary and has the largest land area.

 

Review of Saturday (Jan. 28, 2017) Community Update Meeting

Janet at  the Jan 28th meeting.JPG

This was the 5th Community Update Meeting  in the last 14 months I have hosted. I appreciate the many folks who help and attend these meetings. It is one way to report to the community and to hear back from you. These would not work as well if not for the volunteers and community members who help set up, bring morning snacks and coffee and clean up when we finish. Thank you!.

On Saturday I presented the following:

  1. An update on Land Use and Subdivsion applications and the Glenbow and Bearspaw Area Structure Plans.
  2. Final pictures for the new Bearspaw Gas (Day and Night)
  3. Resident feedback on priorities and  the Quality of Life in the county
  4. Roads update - For snow removal, and  road improvements
  5. Review of the County Aggregate Policy development process and the new revised draft coming out in April (target). Guest speaker Janet Ballantyne also gave a more detailed  report on the process from the perspective of a residents group called Rocky View Gravel Watch. Thank you Janet!
  6. Report on Provincial Government Legislative changes that once  finalized will change the way growth in the Calgary Region is managed.
  7. We finished with Questions and Answers and touched on 5 other topic areas that are my focus as well.

Click here for the full slide presentation. 

Call or text me if you have any questions at 403.815.4999

 

 

Draft Aggregate Policy Released

The draft Aggregate Resource Plan (ARP) is now available for review on the County website  or just click DRAFT ARP.

The County will be holding four open houses around the County in January 2017 to discuss the draft document. Details of the dates and venues will be sent out soon. 

The County is  taking feedback on the draft Plan until February 10, 2017, at which point the County will collate all comments received and make amendments to the Plan as required.

Subject to stakeholder feedback, the ARP is scheduled to go before Council at a public hearing in April 2017.

If you have any questions in relation to the ARP, contact 

Dominic Kazmierczak
Municipal Planner | Planning Services Rocky View County

911 - 32 Avenue NE | Calgary | AB | T2E 6X6
Phone: 403-520-6291

DKazmierczak@rockyview.ca | www.rockyview.ca

Nov 24th - Twelve Mile Coulee Rd. South - Twining Project Plan and meeting

chatting.jpg

On Thursday evening November 24  the newly renovated Bearspaw Lions Hall  was packed with well over 100 people from South Bearspaw (people living south of the 1A highway who use 12 mile Coulee Road). Many thanks to the people in the South Bearspaw Working Group who helped notify people and assisted with  this meeting.

I hosted the meeting to inform residents of plans for this critical City Road that borders Rocky View County. The plan to twin the road from the 1A highway through to TWP Rd. 252 / 80th avenue was presented very well  by Matthew Jones from Macdonald Corp. They are the project managers. The City of Calgary is also involved in the plans and the work.

 For the full presentation click here.

The work will begin in the spring of 2017. The intent is to finish the work before freeze up 2017.

We were informed that traffic flow management during construction will be a key priority for this critical access road.

A number of questions were asked and answered. Twenty-four comment/question cards were also received that I will be forwarding to City and County administration and roads staff.

One of my concerns is that Rocky View residents will continue to have safe access to the road and that emergency access routes will be (officially) available throughout the project and beyond. Summary

I will  work to keep the community  advised of new developments through email and my regular community meetings. Please call or email if you have questions and please pass this on to your neighbors.

Thanks

Eric Lowther  Councillor Bearspaw - Rocky View elowther@rockyview.ca  

or phone 403 815 4999

Summary from Nov.5 Bearspaw update (with links to details)

Thank you to the many, many people who contributed and helped with another successful Community Connection meeting on November 5. The participation at these meetings keeps growing and many good  connections are being made.   So many wonderful contributors to our community, we can do great things.

If I missed you at the meeting, I apologize that sometimes because of the time constraints I’m unable to connect with everyone on their particular issue during these meetings. Please contact me by email or phone to set up a time or appointment.  I’ll help wherever I can.

For those who missed it the meeting covered the following:

  1. ·         There are currently are no new proposals for developments in our area. For the ones that are active go to my website at www.ericlowther.ca/overviewreport/.
  2. ·         The Bearspaw Gas and Tim Hortons is back on track and the design of it is being monitored, by county staff to make sure it fits in our area. Construction starts in the spring now that conditions have been met.  Click to See note from County Planner
  3. ·         Moving this storm water out of the Meadow Drive area is a critical project that continues to move forward although not as fast as all of us would like.  There are a number of regulatory hurdles we are working through. This is a critical project for our community.  22 of 27 required easements are in place.!  Lots of water
  4. ·         12 mile Coulee Road (south of the 1A) will be twinned next year. On November 24 at the Lions Community hall at 6:45 pm the plan will be presented to residents in this area. Addtional notices will be going out for this.
  5. ·         The County will be adjusting the electoral boundaries for the next election. We currently have nine divisions in Rocky View. County Administration is recommending we go to seven divisions. This is a pending decision of Council. I welcome your input on this.  See divisions currently click here.
  6. ·         A new number of our Bearspaw residents are now selected, appointed and serving on Rocky View Boards. Division eight, Bearspaw, is well represented. I have taken on more as well. Click here.
  7. ·         Alan Bishop, President of the Bearspaw Lions, reported new funds from province to add to the funds Rocky View Recreation provided to help complete the fantastic updating of the Lions community facility.  He will show us more next time we all meet.
  8. ·         Mr. Chris Sharkey Board member of the Bearspaw Lifestyle Centre gave an encouraging update that this winter there will be an outdoor rink at the BLC and the Board is again working to move forward on a number of longer-term recreation facility additions there.
  9. ·         Ms. Susan Brown (local resident)  updated all attendees on a community aggregate policy draft that was developed by a broad range of community people. The document was submitted to the county with the intention that it should influence the Rocky View aggregate (gravel policy) that will soon be coming out before the end of the year. Job well done. For a copy of the submission from these community members Click here. For the County's early comments back Click Here. 
  10. ·         Mr. Brent Clark presented extensive information concerning new jet traffic directly over parts of Bearspaw. (CLICK HERE FOR HIS PRESENTATION) Mr. Clark is looking for additional support from local residents regarding the noise related to these new air traffic routes directly over our area. He is meeting with the Calgary Airport Authority on behalf of effected residents. Increased support will help this cause.  He has a meeting with the Airport authority on Nov 17th  and can be reached at : clark58@shaw.ca   To support this click here for his sign up form and get it to him.
  11. ·         Crime in our area and across the county is increasing. Rosemary from Rural Crime Watch gave and full presentation on some of the precautionary measures local residents can take to prevent crime in our area. Prevention starts with an informed and engaged community she stated. Many signed up as members and there is more to come on the crime prevention theme. Connect with them by clicking on CRIME WATCH.  Also Citizens on Patrol is another proactive organization active in our area. There is more we can do here.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL! -Next Community connection meeting January 28th. Same time. Same place.