Residents of the southeast Rocky View got a chance this week to find out more information about proposed changes to the Shepard Industrial Area Structure Plan at an open house at The Track Golf Course in Langdon organized by RVC’s planning department.
Back in July 2023, Rocky View County (RVC) and The City of Calgary agreed to work collaboratively on the Prairie Gateway Economic Initiative, which facilitated a name change to the original area structure plan to the Prairie Gateway Area Structure Plan, and would facilitate a new industrial corridor in the Shepard area of RVC, about 19 km west of Langdon.
According to County material shared at the open house, the collaborative project between RVC, the City of Calgary, and the Shepard Development Corporation would facilitate the development of a rail to truck facility for warehousing and industrial uses, as well as result in an “economic framework of shared investments and benefits between the two municipalities”, and open an economic development area that is not acknowledged under the County’s Regional Growth Plan.
The Plan area includes about 1,847 acres of land in the southeast part of RVC. A portion of the Plan falls within the City of Calgary and RVC Intermunicipal Development Plan area, which has been identified as a “growth corridor” for the City of Calgary. The Plan provided policy direction to guide the development of an industrial park and rail to truck facilities adjacent to the Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern Railway (CPKC) rail line.
The County stated in promotional material displayed at the open house that, over time, the area just north of Indus will evolve into a “world-class logistics centre” that will support the merger of the CPKC, to “bolster the CANAMEX Corridor.”
The County claimed that the plan would result in “significant economic development in the Calgary region.” If approved and completed, the Prairie Gateway project would further connect the Calgary and RVC area to transportation infrastructure that goes as far east as Searsport, New Brunswick, and as far south as Lazaro Cardenas, Mexico.
According to County projections, the project timeline is currently in phase three of five, with a hopeful project application adoption by the County and the Calgary Regional Metropolitan Board by the summer of 2024, which consists of a draft structure plan and public consultations.
A primary concern expressed by residents throughout the initial consultation phase, and reinforced by residents in attendance at the open house, was over the question of roads. Residents wondered if the roads in the area would be upgraded to accommodate the increase of heavy truck traffic that the Prairie Gateway project would create.
In booklets passed around to open house attendees the County stated that transportation studies are “ongoing to determine [road] access.” In the material, the County said that Township Road 232, 14 Avenue, and Range Road 283 need upgrades, and that the type of upgrades would be determined on review.
As part of the initial planning process, the City of Calgary had planned to annex the plan area to ensure it would maintain an adequate long-term land supply to accommodate the “evolving needs of industrial developers.”
The City eventually paused the annexation process for the area plan area. According to the County’s Prairie Gateway website, the annexation process was placed on hold while it explored collaborative opportunities with involved municipalities.
“The City of Calgary and RVC remain open to future annexation discussions should the need for annexation be identified,” read a statement on the County’s website.
The County says that additional information will be made available as the initiative progresses through its phases. It’s expected that the County will have a more refined plan when the planning department brings the Prairie Gateway project to council for a public hearing sometime in early summer.