Riding arena jumps first hurdle
Rocky View County council unanimously approved the rezoning of a 40-acre parcel of land east of Airdrie, May 8, to facilitate the future development of a horse riding arena.
The land, located roughly three kilometres east of the city, is owned by Doug MacKenzie, whose daughter, Michelle James, plans to establish a centre for riding, training and breeding.
“This will allow me to carry out my chosen career while being right in my own backyard and close to my children,” said James, who received her education at Olds College and currently works at a horse breeding and training centre near Kathyrn, roughly 25 kilometres east of her home.
Larry Konschuk of Bert Brown Land Consultants Ltd., who represented MacKenzie and James in the application, told council the parcel contains some land suitable for grain production but is currently used only for horse grazing.
“The redesignation we’re asking for today will make better use of this parcel,” said Konschuk. “This is not productive land and a riding arena will be a much better use.”
Matthew Wilson of the County’s development planning department told council that Rocky View staff circulated the application to 26 area landowners and received one letter in support and one in opposition.
Ian Macdonald, who lives directly across from the parcel, wrote in opposition of the application, stating he had several concerns regarding the number of horses that would be brought in, water consumption, odour, impact on the viewscape and increased traffic, noise and dust.
Konschuk informed council that James currently owns three horses and plans to only bring in one or two more for the riding arena. Thereby, he said the total water consumption of the operation would be less than that of an average home, and odour and noise would not increase.
He said that as the riding arena will be a small-scale operation, there will not be a significant increase in traffic, and the structure will not impact the view of the mountains.
Councillor Lois Habberfield agreed with the motion.
“I see no reason not to approve this,” she said. “This (operation) will help keep young people who are interested in doing agriculture in Rocky View County (from moving to) the towns and cities.”
The reading was approved unanimously. The next step will be the subdivision of the land, followed by a development permit and business licence.