Eco Park development plan approved

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An amended Master Site Development Plan (MSDP) was approved by Rocky View County (RVC) council at a meeting Oct. 10 to guide development of the City of Airdrie’s proposed Eco Park. A related redesignation was approved with amendments at a previous RVC meeting Sept. 26, but the MSDP was deferred to allow time for revisions to reflect these amendments.

The park site is currently home to a waste transfer site and the Airdrie rodeo grounds. According to the City’s application, the Eco Site will “integrate leading examples of sustainable waste, recycling and compost management in an agricultural and natural setting.”

The MSDP was initially presented to RVC council May 9, along with the corresponding redesignation application, said RVC Planner Xin Deng. According to Deng, the applications were tabled by council sine die, to allow time for an Intermunicipal Committee meeting where administration and the City of Airdrie could discuss possible amendments to the document.

RVC council raised a number of concerns with the City’s initial proposal, primarily around minimizing negative impacts on adjacent residents and ensuring public safety. Deng said while the updated MSDP does address the “majority” of council’s concerns through policies that limit land uses and provide wide agricultural buffers, there was still an issue with the City’s plan for traffic mitigation.

“The applicant requested that an updated Traffic Impact Assessment (TIA) not be required for special events … as a TIA would incur additional costs for non-profit agencies,” Deng said. “Instead, the applicant requested that a Traffic Accommodation Plan be accepted.”

This plan would detail how to address the flow of traffic that may be increased or disrupted temporarily as a result of a special event, such as an annual rodeo. This may include a public notification procedure, signage plans, potential detours, emergency access management, illumination requirements and more.

However, administration recommended approving the document with an additional amendment that would require the City to provide updated TIAs, as well.

“Airdrie Pro Rodeo attracts approximately 8,000 visitors during the annual five-day event – the traffic generated during these days would have an impact on local road systems,” Deng said. “An updated TIA would assist the County and Alberta Transportation in determining the timing for future road and intersection upgrades, and in ensuring that the width of roads and turn-offs could accommodate the volume of traffic during the event.”

The MSDP was approved by a unanimous vote, following a motion from RVC Councillor Lois Habberfield.

“I think this has been a long process that we’ve been under,” she said, “and I’m happy to see it come to council before we have a change in council.”

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