Friday, June 9, 2017
IN THE NEWS
By Marianne Cole
1. MASP Work continues on finalizing the draft of the Major Area Structure Plan. This is a document that will govern future development to the north of Rocky. As mentioned in our March Beacon, this area covers 11 quarters of land that could potentially be used for commercial, industrial, and community services development.
According to a news release posted on the county’s website on May 31, 2017, the next steps in the process are:
· Review of the plan by the town and county councils
· Finalize the draft MASP
· Public review and input at one or more public meetings
· Sending the plan to stakeholders for additional comments
· Public hearing where the public can make official presentations
Although not mentioned in the news release, the final step after the public hearing would be for council to either adopt or reject the plan.
Note: Following the open house meeting in February, county residents had an opportunity to submit comments and suggestions on the proposed plan. While no public report of the survey results has been given, the results were presented to the Inter-municipal Development Committee on April 24, 2017 and a copy of the comment summary has been received by the CCTA. Many of the concerns raised focussed on need and the cost of the proposed development. Positive comments were expressed relating to encouraging business development.
2. Rocky Ag. Rec. Facility The Rocky Ag. Society held their fourth open house meeting on Wednesday, May 24, this time encouraging attendance by businesses that might be interested in support/sponsorship of the proposed facilities. Again, attendance was dismal with only 12 people in attendance (5 Ag. Society members and 7 general public). Strong opposition by a businessman was stated, noting the tough economy at this time. Other comments suggested concern that the Ag. Society would not hold title to the land, potentially hindering grant funding, and that the push for this building on the county’s north property may be a “ploy” to begin development that would then promote the building of the administration building.
The Ag. Society will be making a presentation to County Council sometime in June regarding further plans/action.
3. Improving Broadband Service In May the Clearwater Broadband Foundation made presentations to both county council and the CCTA monthly meeting explaining their proposed plans. They continue to work hard to research the most efficient methods of providing service through a combination of towers and fibre optic cable. They had plans for a pilot project in 2017 but unfortunately these plans were stymied when county council turned down a request for a loan to support this project at their May 9th meeting.
During further discussion at that meeting two additional motions were put forward: a. To have administration contact the town of Olds to see how they approached the legalities of funding O’net, and b. To accept the CBF’s proposal for the establishment of a three party consulting/tech review committee to verify the most efficient provision of services. Both motions were defeated in recorded votes where Councillors Vandermeer, Duncan, and Laing voted in favor while Councillors Maki, Alexander, Graham, and Greenwood were opposed.
The CBF will continue to investigate further options and the county council has instructed administration to seek out other available options to improve broadband service in the county.
ROSES A very special bouquet of roses goes out this month to all the Rocky REA and Fortis line workers for their efforts during the recent wind and rain storm. When many of us were sitting inside bemoaning our loss of power for a few hours these dedicated people were outside in nasty, potentially dangerous conditions working to ensure our services were restored as quickly as possible. We send you a HUGE thank you for constantly putting your lives “on the line” for our benefit.
RANT Recently it was reported in the news that the city of Calgary was asking for resident opinion on two proposed ventures---bidding for the 2026 Winter Olympics and building a new arena to replace the Saddledome. Public opinion was being sought BEFORE any action was being taken.
I thought how differently a path had been taken here in Clearwater County when residents were kept “in the dark” about building plans until expensive land had been purchased and costly architectural designs created.
What if there had been a different perspective here, to seek--- and value--- the opinions of those paying the bill? Could money have been saved, and trust increased, if a survey had been mailed out with tax notices in May of 2015??
Hind sight is always 20-20, but likewise there is always clear opportunity to move forward in a positive direction. Maybe the civic elections in October might be the first step to initiate a change of attitude and “modus operandi” (method of operation) for Clearwater County.
Regular monthly meetings, 7:30PM, Leslieville Elks’ Hall: June 15, 2017, September 14, 2017; October 12, 2017
Also keep eyes open for further open house/public meeting on the Major Area Structure Plan.