By Nikki Jamieson
Sunny South News
Lethbridge County council have approved a draft Intermunicipal Development Plan with Vulcan County.
During their regular May 2 meeting, Lethbridge County council reviewed a draft version of the Lethbridge County/Vulcan County Intermunicipal Development Plan.
Presenting the report to council, Hilary Janzen, senior planner for the county, said that as per a December 2018 conversation with council, they wanted to present a draft plan before proceeding with the open house on the IDP.
“The area that we’re looking at (in the IDP) is a mile on both sides of the municipal boundary, and it looks at things like existing land use, it looks at environmentally sensitive areas, historical resource areas, existing confined feeding operations exclusion areas — both Vulcan County and Lethbridge County both have confined feeding operations exclusion areas within their Municipal Development Plans, so that’s identified in one of the maps,” said Janzen.
“It’s a fairly general plan, but it does cover off all of the requirements, as per the Municipal Government Act.”
Section 631 of the Municipal Government Act requires that two or more municipalities with common boundaries who are not members of a growth region must adopt a IDP by passing a bylaw.
Janzen said Vulcan County staff reviewed the document and have made minor tweaks, and their Oldman River Regional Services Commission planner made a few minor changes.
The draft then went before Lethbridge County council to approve before they hold their open house on the IDP, which Janzen said they hope to do by the end of May.
A bylaw for the IDP would be brought to council for first reading at a later date.
Responding to a question from Larry Randle, the county’s director of community services, on how she felt about the IDP process, Janzen said she thinks it works out really well.
Noting that urban-to-rural IDPs are “more intense”, as there is more considerations, thus taking more time as there is more conversations needed about the affected lands, rural-to-rural IDPs can seem “a bit redundant”.
“We’re just putting in words what we already practice in terms of working with our rural neighbours,” said Janzen.
“But at the same time, it’s been really helpful; I’ve actually have better communication now with my counterparts in those municipalities. So, you know, just touching base and so I’m having better connections that way. It does open the lines of communication, having a more formalized document in place.”
Coun. Tory Campbell noted that the previous NDP government had stressed collaboration between municipalities.
With the new UCP government now in place, he asked if, moving forward, she saw that same spirit and if she had concerns that there might be changes there.
“The legislation that was done for the IDP was actually done under the Progressive-Conservative Party, previous to the NDP, so I don’t think that’s going to change,” said Janzen.
“The South Saskatchewan Regional Plan was started under the former, the previous, previous government, so I don’t think those will change necessarily. The ICFs (Intermunicipal Collaboration Framework) were maybe, that’s were there could be some change, we’re not entirely sure… The ICFs might be slightly more in question, but the IDPs, I think, we’re pretty solid moving forward with these and approving them.”
Coun. Morris Zeinstra said he thought the IDPs had “good merit”, and they made the municipalities become “more aware of each other.”
Council unanimously passed a motion to direct administration to move forward with the IDP and the Open House.
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