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County nixes proposed fees for undeveloped land

Rocky View County council decided not to pursue the collection of developer contributions for water and wastewater services within Balzac, Nov. 23. Councillor Earl Solberg brought forth a notice of motion, Oct.

Rocky View County council decided not to pursue the collection of developer contributions for water and wastewater services within Balzac, Nov. 23.

Councillor Earl Solberg brought forth a notice of motion, Oct. 5, which directed County staff to look into collecting contributions from landowners of undeveloped land who are guaranteed water, but haven’t yet paid levies.

The levies, normally about $30,000 per acre in the area, are used to help pay down debt, partially garnered when the municipality built infrastructure to provide water and wastewater servicing to the area.

“They have got the serviced water assured to them,” said Solberg. “It adds value to the property just as it sits, (but) the landowner hasn’t paid anything for the increase in the asset value of the land. So I felt that Rocky View County ought not be holding that debt.”

Solberg said he is satisfied with the outcome of council’s discussion, although he said Rocky View may reconsider the issue once its utility company, Aqueduct, is up and running.

“Capacity ability is out there on land… they aren’t going to be using it for a while,” said Solberg. “I think we might still take a closer look at it and work out a deal where we can get the investment from them.”

Solberg said another positive is that some of the proposed projects, put on hold during the recession, are now appearing before council.

“Some of them are already in there (before administration) and others are coming in,” he said. “There are various developers that are in various stages of development. It looks to me like there is a fair amount of promise.”

Those developments, once in place, will help pay down Rocky View’s debt.

In his original notice of motion, Solberg said the County should consider re-allocating unused water capacity to other areas, such as the proposed Canadian National Railway (CNR) near Conrich.

“One of the things I was thinking was…CNR is going to need water and they are going to need it very quickly,” said Solberg. “The easiest thing would have been to pipe it from the Balzac line to Conrich, then we could provide for the immediate needs of CNR.”

Solberg said the County does have water capacity to allocate to the large project, which hasn’t received all of its approvals yet. Bringing water to the CNR development is not likely to cost the County anything.

During the council discussion, Reeve Rolly Ashdown suggested the County investigate taking refundable deposits for undeveloped land with servicing allocation.

Solberg agreed.

“Staff should encourage developers to come forward with voluntary deposits to ensure they have enough water, as there is a limited capacity,” he said.


Airdrie Today Staff

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