HIGHLIGHTS OF COUNTY’S AREA STRUCTURE PLAN OPEN HOUSE
By Marianne Cole
Clearwater County held an open house/meeting at the Christensen Wellness Centre on Thursday, February 16, 2017. The purpose of this meeting was to introduce and gather resident input into the proposed Area Structure Plan that would guide development to the north of Rocky Mtn. House. There were about 80 people present with standing room only in the Subway Room. Noticeably absent were the Reeve, Deputy Reeve and two other councillors. The only councillors present were Theresa Laing, John Vandermeer, and Kyle Greenwood.
Prior to the start of the meeting attendees could look at the various maps and stands of information that had been set up by Bill Shaw of BPS Consulting, the consultant doing the work on drafting the plan. He, along with Rick Emmons and Keith McCrae from the county’s planning department, were available to answer questions/discuss concerns.
Rick Emmons opened the meeting and welcomed everyone before turning the meeting over to Bill Shaw. Bill presented information on planning discussions that had taken place with the county and the need for future development along with giving detailed descriptions of the various types of commercial/industrial development that could take place on the lands to be governed by the Area Structure Plan.
Then the floor was opened for questions. The questions/concerns focussed on:
* Whether there is a need
* What would be the infrastructure cost
* Should taxpayers be on the hook for development
* Concerns with Rocky’s waste water system
* When could there be financial return on investment
* That maybe a plebiscite should take place to gather info on actual public support
When the issues with Rocky’s sewage lagoon were brought up Ron Leaf stepped forward and indicated that he had contacted the town’s administration Thursday morning and there aren’t any issues. In speaking to a town councillor, however, the town has initiated a $30,000 study to evaluate the functioning of the sewage lagoon and this study hasn’t been finalized yet.
In conclusion, there were a few people that expressed support for future development but it seemed that the majority were opposed due to questionable need and financial return in this economic environment. There will be another open house as well as a public hearing before the document is finally approved.