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Coaldale passes county-town IDP bylaw

Posted on March 22, 2023 by Sunny South News

By Nikki Jamieson
Sunny South News

Coaldale town council has approved a new IDP between the Town of Coaldale and Lethbridge County.

During Coaldale town council’s regular March 13 meeting, a public hearing was held for Bylaw 861-P-01-23, or the Lethbridge County and Town of Coaldale Intermunicipal Development Plan.

An IDP helps to provide a framework regarding land use and development in the fringe area between two or more municipalities. The Municipal Government Act (MGA) mandates that two or more councils of municipalities with common boundaries that are not members of a growth region must adopt an Intermunicipal Development Plan (IDP) through the passing of a bylaw.

“Fundamentally speaking, this document is very similar to the previous plan, which was adopted in 2010. The fundamental difference is that the borders are expanded, which is reflective of the annexation that occurred back in 2018,” said Cameron Mills, director of growth and investments for the town, speaking during the public hearing.

In 2021, it was decided that the IDP between the Town of Coaldale and Lethbridge County needed to be updated in order to bring it into compliance with the provincial regulations, current agreements and land use perspectives between the two municipalities. The revision process started in March 2022.

Mills said during the public hearing that they did get some feedback from the NRCB, on clarifying some language in the document as it relates to Confined Feeding Operations. Those amendments are reflected in both the town and county’s version of the bylaw, and reads as follows:

“5.3.10: The NRCB may consider allowing existing confined feeding operations to limited expansion and to upgrade and modernize within the requirements of the Agricultural Operations Practices Act and Regulations and that the expansion includes: a. That the expansion is no more than a 10% increase from the existing animal numbers; and b. Consideration of the minimum distance separation calculation contained in the Agricultural Operation Practices Act, Standards and Administration Regulation; c. Demonstration changes will reduce impacts to the rural and urban residents of the area; d. Additional environmental protection will be considered; and, e. Comments from the County and Town area received and considered.”

Mills later clarified that these NRCB rules applied to the fringe land in the county that surrounds the town, and not in the town itself.

Mills said that they had had some feedback from the town’s public engagement on the IDP, mainly among county ratepayers and those interested in “learning more about the topic rather then necessarily bringing up any concerns”. About 20 town and county residents had attended an open house on the bylaw in November 2022, and the draft IDP was posted to both the Town and County’s websites. No comments or feedback on the plan were received.

In response to a question about whether there would be development by the county in the fringe land around the town, Mills said that the county could still develop it, but it allows the town to comment and provide guidance. Any development in the fringe land should be “conducive” to what the town plans are for that area and “match landscaping standards”.

The corresponding bylaw had been passed by Lethbridge County with the amendments noted in the town’s proposed bylaw. Both municipalities would need to pass their respective bylaw in order for the IDP to come into effect.

Council unanimously passed second and third and final reading of Intermunicipal Development Plan Bylaw 861-P-01-23.

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