Question: What is your policy on regional planning and cooperation and in particular your opinion on the Calgary Regional Partnership and the Calgary Metropolitan Plan?
Question: Will you legislate the Calgary Metropolitan Plan in its amended form and apply it to all communities in the Calgary region, including the County of Rocky View and the Municipal District of Foothills?
Regional planning is extremely important in a province as large and diverse as ours. Alberta Liberals believe very strongly in the need for and the value of meaningful regional planning, especially given that land use and conflicts around it will only get more heated and complicated as our population grows and expands. The Calgary Metropolitan Plan, despite Rocky View County and the M.D. of Foothills not being part of it, still represents a very strong framework for regional growth in the greater Calgary area.
The question of legislating the Calgary Metropolitan Plan and applying it to all communities in the Calgary region is obviously a very difficult one, as evidenced by the PCs’ unwillingness to act on it. Interestingly, when Bill 28, Enabling Regional Growth Boards Act, was first introduced, the PCs clearly intended to use it to force fighting municipalities to work together – and former Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths said as much. However, when municipalities chided the government en masse over this, the PCs amended the legislation to make participation in any future growth management boards voluntary. The offshoot of that is the stalemate we now see with the Calgary Metropolitan Plan.
While consensus on regional plans is not always going to be possible, Alberta Liberals do not believe that one or two dissenting municipalities should necessarily be able to hold up the process indefinitely. In hindsight, that is also probably why the PCs set up the Capital Region Board in the manner that they did. If participation in growth management boards is to remain voluntary pursuant to the Enabling Regional Growth Boards Act, then the regulations – which are still being finalized – need to provide a binding mechanism for breaking an impasse such as we are now seeing with the Calgary Metropolitan Plan. The rules and procedures around the creation and operation of growth management boards must also be clear so that they can function fairly and effectively for all member municipalities.
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