Residents offer input for growth

By: Tammy Rollie

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Feb 19, 2014 08:38 am

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Diamond Valley taxpayers put their heads together to determine the potential for expansion in their communities to help kick off a 50-year growth plan.

Approximately 50 Turner Valley, Black Diamond and MD of Foothills residents provided ideas and suggestions for growth opportunities in various areas in their communities and the surrounding MD during a workshop in Turner Valley’s Flare ‘n’ Derrick Community Hall on Jan. 30.

Their ideas will be taken into consideration in the drafting of the Intermunicipal Development Plan (IDP), which will outline residential, business and industrial growth potential for the region over the next five decades.

Turner Valley resident Maureen Nelson not only attended the workshop to offer her input into the plan, but to hear others’ ideas and thoughts.

Nelson and other members of the public worked in groups to discuss their ideas and look at maps of the region and considered potential constraints on new developments, agricultural lands, flood risk areas, topography, underground pipelines and accessibility to roads and highways.

They indicated where they would like to see growth and what types of growth they would like to occur.

“There was a lot of good input and sensible discussions, very interesting stuff to protect farmland and riparian, put in the right kind of housing and where to put your business section and industrial,” she said. “We all agreed on protecting the whole river valley as a green space to be shared by everyone. This was a case of real team and community building going on.”

Nelson said she enjoyed the opportunity to work with her neighbours towards a common cause.

“I just thought it was a really good way to get input from a variety of people, everything from farmers to seniors,” she said. “It really showed how Black Diamond, Turner Valley and the MD can work together in the next 50 years to build what’s best for the area, not for one particular community.”

Sharlene Brown, Black Diamond’s mayor and a member of the IDP committee, attended the meeting as an observer.

Brown said an open house was held last October to kick start the public consultation process and provide information on the 2002 IDP, which includes about 2,800 hectares of land and needs to be updated.

Last month’s workshop was an opportunity for the public to share their visions on growth for the region.

“We are making decisions based on community so it’s important to have the community’s feedback,” she said. “Anytime you bring community together to help make a decision it’s great. It was nice to see there was so much involvement.”

Brown said the anticipated growth patterns for the region shows a moderate increase over the next five decades.

She said the community won’t only see a gradual expansion in residential properties, but also commercial and industrial, which should offset taxes for residents in the community.

“Right now we are currently looking at a 80/20 split residential versus business and industry tax,” she said, adding she would like to see that number level out with more commercial and industrial development.

Comments and suggestions made at last month’s workshop will be implemented in the revised IDP, which will be drafted by a committee consisting of councillors, administration and planners in the two communities and MD.

MD of Foothills planner Semra Kalkan said public participation is a critical step to provide the IDP committee with a basis for making decisions.

She said there will be more opportunities for public consultation throughout the process with public hearings and an open house after the plan is drafted.

Kalkan said it could be a year or more before the IDP is complete.

“There is no standard timeline for these things,” she said. “It depends on a variety of things like staff availability, councillor availability and things like that.”


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