Annexation / Conrich Appeal
Last Updated:March 3, 2017
May 11, 2017: Statement from Mayor Patricia Matthews
The Municipal Government Board (MGB) has made its decision regarding Chestermere’s appeal of the Conrich Area Structure Plan (ASP) . They have chosen to allow Rocky View County to proceed as planned.
While we respect the process the MGB took to listen to our community’s concerns, we are disheartened with their decision. We recognize that municipalities have the right to plan for their communities, but we are disappointed that the ASP doesn’t consider the adverse effect it will have on surrounding communities. We worry that the detrimental impacts identified in the appeal, including risks to wetlands and stormwater, transportation, social support and economic development will negatively affect Chestermere and the region.
We will continue to work diligently to protect the best interests of Chestermere residents and are exploring all legal options to do that.
The City has always believed a regional approach to development is necessary and has actively pursued collaboration with Rocky View for many years. We have been working on an Inter-municipal Development Plan since 2010 to establish a “good neighbour” agreement, which was Chestermere’s primary focus and request throughout this appeal. Chestermere actively takes a regional approach to planning through the Calgary Regional Partnership and while we haven’t seen participation from Rocky View County in the past, we are glad to know that they are now open to such collaboration moving forward.
We're interested in Rocky View County's offer to work together in a spirit of co-operation and respect. We hope to find mutually beneficial commercial development solutions that don’t burden our residents or sacrifice our community’s well-being. We also look forward to continuing to collaborate on a number of other regional items, including watershed protection, transportation, emergency services, recreation and education.
Mayor Patricia Matthews
March 3, 2017
The hearing concluded in September 2016. We are currently awaiting a decision or direction from the Municipal Government Board and will update residents as soon as it is available.September 22, 2016
On September 12, 2016, The City of Chestermere began presenting its appeal to an independent Municipal Government Board on Rocky View County’s Conrich Area Structure Plan (ASP).
The ASP was not created with a regional approach. Our appeal explains that we have significant concerns with the lack of regional coordination for the following key issues:
- Wetland & Stormwater: Risk of flooding homes and contaminated water reaching Chestermere Lake.
- Environmental concerns: Our connected wetlands and ecosystems may become inundated with Conrich’s stormwater and drainage.
- Transportation: Traffic delays, potential roadway accidents, and highway infrastructure costs for Chestermere.
- Social Supports: More Conrich residents and non-Chestermere residents working in Conrich will use our fire, emergency, police, education, and social services to the detriment of our residents.
- Economic Development: Chestermere taxpayers will bear the financial burden if Conrich development limits our ability to increase our business tax base.
We will provide further details as the hearing progresses.
What does the City of Chestermere want to achieve through this Appeal?
We believe strongly that Chestermere, Rocky View, and neighbouring municipalities should have a Good Neighbour Agreement in place so we can agree on how to grow on both sides of our borders. This will allow us to create cost-efficient, integrated, and practical solutions for issues like transportation, commercial development, wetlands and stormwater, emergency services, and environmental sustainability.
Why did Chestermere attempt to annex Conrich land and then withdraw its application?
At the time, we felt implementing the annexation process was the only way to ensure our concerns about the detrimental impacts of the ASP were going to be heard. We withdrew the application to pursue mediation and arbitration, followed by an appeal.
- Mediation attempted in April 2016 was not successful.
- The municipalities agreed to move to a Merit Hearing before the Municipal Government Board (which will began September 12).
- For past updates on this issue, you can read the news release from May 4, 2016.
- MGB Hearing Submission Documents:
Posted Winter 2016
Recently, Rocky View County has been considering a plan for the Conrich area just north of Chestermere. The plan would allow industrial and commercial development (roughly 3 times the size of Balzac) supplemented by enough residential to accommodate close to 10,000 new residents.
Chestermere Council and staff have been working with the County over the past six years to find resolution to common issues in this region including traffic planning, storm water management, land use coordination, and the preservation of wetlands and precious agricultural land. This has included attending public hearings, internal meetings, offering meditation to resolve issues, and expressing our concerns both at a staff and Council level.
Unfortunately, Rocky View County Council passed the plan in December 2015 with none of the proposed amendments or consideration of major issues brought forward by Chestermere, Calgary or other surrounding neighbours in the Region.
Our major concern with the plan is that there is a lack of coordinated and sustainable plans for community services, emergency services, bylaw services, recreation or schools to serve this population. Our worry is that Chestermere will be expected to support these residents and businesses who will not be paying taxes for the maintenance and cost of the services, and the burden will fall to Chestermere taxpayers.
In an effort for our concerns to be heard and for a sustainable plan to be taken into consideration Chestermere Council applied to annex 2.5% of Rocky View County land (as allowed by the Municipal Government Act). We currently do not have plans to develop the land.
The City of Chestermere and The City of Calgary have also filed a Notice of Appeal for an Inter-municipal Dispute. While it does not freeze development, the Inter-municipal Dispute Appeal by the City of Chestermere and a similar application by The City of Calgary will ensure that the matter is reviewed by the Municipal Government Board, an independent, quasi-judicial board established to make decisions about land planning in Alberta.
For more information, please contact a member of Council.