Rocky View County (RVC) council has put the Bragg Creek Hamlet Expansion Strategy Area Structure Plan (ASP) on hold, at least temporarily.
The ASP, which determines future development in the Bragg Creek expansion area, will be on hiatus until council determines its strategic direction on growth and a decision has been made by the Minister of Municipal Affairs on approval of the Calgary Metropolitan Region Board’s (CMRB) draft Regional Growth Plan.
Administration initially recommended proceeding with the project at the Jan. 25 council meeting, and Division 5 Coun. Greg Boehlke questioned why council would put the project on hold when there’s an opportunity to get work done now.
RVC staff will present a report to council within two months of the decision by the minister on the CMRB’s Regional Growth Plan, assessing the impacts of the minister’s decision on the review of the Bragg Creek ASP.
According to Dominic Kazmierczak, RVC’s planning manager, the current growth plan would have to be approved by the CMRB, as it is a statutory plan amendment and of significant size.
“The hamlet expansion is included in a hamlet growth area within the regional plan, so it’s supported by criteria,” he said.
The Minister of Municipal Affairs’ forthcoming decision on the draft Regional Growth Plan may influence potential approval of the Bragg Creek ASP by the CMRB, but there is no certainty that the growth plan will be approved in its current form, administration reported on Jan. 25.
Kazmierczak told council the next step would be to investigate the project further. He added previous studies have shown the potential cost of servicing this area, and issues like what density makes sense from a safety and needs perspective in the area need to be decided moving forward.
Delaying the project won’t cost the County anything, but technical reports may become outdated over time, Kazmierczak said.
Division 1 Coun. Kevin Hanson, council’s representative for the Bragg Creek area, said a lot has changed in his division since the project started and the ASP will have to comply with the regional growth plan. He said putting it on pause will allow the County to re-engage and properly get the project going again, when the regional growth plan is approved and council has a determined strategic direction on growth.
According to Jessica Anderson, municipal planner at RVC, the Hamlet of Bragg Creek Revitalization Plan was adopted by council in December 2015 to identify opportunities and actions to achieve the community’s vision for the hamlet and to revitalize the Bragg Creek area.
One of the recommended actions to implement the revitalization plan was to determine steps for allowing future development in the expansion area, as originally intended in the Greater Bragg Creek ASP.
The hamlet expansion area is approximately 214 acres in size and consists of approximately 20 parcels. The final ASP amendment would result in specific policies to guide the development of the expansion lands, according to an RVC staff report.
On May 12, 2020, RVC administration outlined different proposed land use scenarios, technical studies, servicing cost constraints, and an engagement summary. Council unanimously directed administration to finalize the ASP amendments based on a land use scenario that envisions higher residential densities to offset anticipated costs of servicing the area.
Planned in-person engagement sessions did not occur due to COVID-19 pandemic-related restrictions over the past two years, and the project was delayed for similar reasons.
“Significant time and financial contribution have been put into the project by the County and the Bragg Creek community and with consideration of the recent development pressures in the community, the Expansion Strategy would offer further revitalization and growth opportunities for this important Hamlet growth area,” a staff report stated. “Therefore, administration is recommending the continuation of the ASP review project, with on-going consideration of the proposed Growth Plan, including timeline and policy implications."