There has been significant dialogue on the progress of the Calgary Metropolitan Plan (CMP) the past few days.
We wanted to provide you an update.
We also want to address Rocky View County’s press release suggesting the Province of Alberta to stop funding the Calgary Regional Partnership (CRP).
Which we respectfully disagree with of course.
Can regional planning be successful when done in isolation? We don’t’ believe it can.
Implementing the Calgary Metropolitan Plan
Here is CRP’s position on moving the CMP forward.
On January 21 and February 3, 2015 the CRP and municipalities met with the Municipal Affairs Minister, Diana McQueen, to discuss how to move forward with the Metropolitan Plan.
The Province presented us with two options:
- Establish a Growth Management Board or
- Legislate the CMP under the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan (SSRP)
On Feb 6, the CRP Board voted to pursue a “made in the Calgary Region” approach for moving forward with the Calgary Metropolitan Plan.
The CRP Board agrees that both options provided by the Province of Alberta don’t fit the CRP’s requirements for mandatory compliance with the CMP while maintaining the voting structure designed for our Region and preserving the voluntary nature of the CRP.
The response to the Minister reflects the Board’s current position, given new information learned through recent meetings with the Province.
Read our letter to Minister Diana McQueen here.
The CRP Board’s position doesn’t bind our individual member municipalities.
Each municipality is reviewing the options and submitting a response to the Minister by February 20 as requested.
We understand that some member municipalities may choose to provide other options to the Minister for consideration.
Signed Calgary Metropolitan Plan
The CRP re-affirmed their commitment to the CMP and its implementation, continuing on a totally voluntary basis, through available tools and actions in the Municipal Government Act (MGA).
CRP members are aligning their Municipal Development Plans (MDP) to the CMP through the integration of “Regional Context Statements” into their MDPs.
This ensures CRP municipalities are expressing, in local statutory legislation, their commitment to a shared regional vision and sustainability strategy. One that is pursued on local and regional scale.
CRP adds value to the Province and municipalities
The Province of Alberta continues to support the CRP in our regional collaboration efforts because it simply makes sense.
And they have stated it here, here, and here.
The $3 million dollar grant funding we receive reflects the value of CRP to the Province.
What value does CRP bring?
1. The CMP helps meet the goals and strategies of the Province of Alberta, such as
- managing growth
- implement SSRP directions
- reducing development footprints
- saving valuable agricultural land by advocating for 8-10 unit per acre into the future
- protecting ecological systems
- planning transportation and growth corridors
- coordinating and planning for long-term infrastructure needs
- setting the conditions in place for continued economic prosperity.
2. Measurable long-term cost savings and efficiency for municipalities and the Province of Alberta througheffective sequencing of regional growth with provincial investment.
The CMP provides a coordinated regional perspective for future provincial capital funding considerations. For water and wastewater, roadways, transit and other infrastructure.
For example, the GreenTRIP program allocated $800 million to the Calgary Region.
All projects must be endorsed by CRP and aligned with the Region’s direction.
Instead of spending millions of tax dollars on one-off, duplicated municipal projects, provincial capital funding needs to be considered in the context of coordinated regional priorities.
For example, in 2010 it was estimated that the CMP’s approach to more compact urban form, coupled with a regional approach to water and wastewater servicing, could save over $400 million dollars in capital investment and lifecycle maintenance costs when compared to the Region’s status quo development and servicing scenario.
That number would be much higher in today’s dollars.
If Rocky View County is truly concerned about saving provincial dollars and doing fiscally sound planning, why have they not voluntarily joined the CRP and adopted the Calgary Metropolitan Plan?
Had they made that choice back in 2011-2012, Rocky View could have already saved their own municipality, the Province of Alberta and private investors millions of dollars when servicing the Conrich CN industrial development with water and wastewater by agreeing to a far less costly coordinated regional solution under the CMP and avoiding a duplication of infrastructure services.
3. CRP municipalities work together to bring business and people into the Region instead of doing it alone.
The CRP is the provincially designated Regional Economic Development Alliance (REDA) for the Calgary Region.
The REDA works with the Province to help set the conditions for continued economic prosperity, trade, investment and employment opportunities.
This is especially important for smaller municipalities who may not have the resources to provide an economic development program.
Listen to Mayor Bill Robertson, Mayor Patricia Matthews and Councillor Michel Jackson talk about the benefits of the CRP to their communities:
Why regional planning is important
The Partnership plays a significant role and provides many benefits to the communities in the Calgary Region.
Now Rocky View believes we are just another level of bureaucracy that will limit local autonomy.
There is nothing further from the truth.
As we stated again and again the CRP is a voluntary organization.
We have never wanted to become another level of government or planning body that approves any local development plans.
Both the CRP and CMP respect local autonomy with CRP members doing their own local planning.
What some people forget is the CMP is NOT REGULATORY.
It’s recognition by our member municipalities that the Calgary Region is growing and their commitment to plan for sustainable growth.
The Calgary Region is forecasted to grow to more than 3 million people by 2076 (2012 Urban Futures Study).
That’s more than double our population now.
As we’ve stated before: We are growing and our water is limited.
That’s why the status quo is no longer acceptable.
- It’s about preparing for more than 2 million coming to the Region over the next 50 years.
- It’s about ensuring these people will have the same access to a sustainable source of water as we do today.
- It’s about providing options for these people to move freely around the Region.
- It’s about building a sound economic foundation so people will have jobs and a prosperous future.
So how do we accomplish this?
Not by an every-municipality-for-themselves approach as Rocky View County would lead you to believe. (It’s one thing to say you believe in regional cooperation but completely different to act on it.)
It’s about municipalities in the Calgary Region taking a leadership role by working together.
Or fail our future generations.
No more wasting time
The CRP doesn’t stand for platitudes or far-fetched goals. These are tangible priorities for all municipalities in the Calgary Region today and the immediate future.
Despite Rocky View County’s position or others who decry the CMP, the Partnership’s twelve municipalities remain committed to the Plan’s principles and preparing the Calgary Region for future growth.
We look forward to proceeding with our made in the Calgary Region approach to implement the CMP. The future of our Region depends on it.