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Next county council to tackle flood hazard changes

The province is currently working on its Upper Red Deer River Hazard Study

MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY -  Changes proposed to Mountain View County’s municipal development plan (MDP) and land use bylaw (LUB) regarding flood hazards lands have been put over for consideration by the new town council being elected in October.

During the recent regularly scheduled council meeting, councillors discussed the proposed changes and considered whether to move forward with setting a public hearing date.

Changes being proposed to the land use bylaw include the following new wording: “Land Use Bylaw regulations shall identify the design standards for development in the flood hazard area (floodway and flood fringe) of the 1 in 100-year design flood of a provincial study; or development located in the flood hazard area of the 1 in 100-year design flood of a flood risk assessment prepared by the applicant to the satisfaction of the approving authority.”

During the July 14 council meeting, administration proposed a few additional amendments to the MDP, including adding “clarity that the restriction in the floodway also applies to subdivision-only applications (when no redesignation is proposed) and applies to any existing or proposed use” and adds an “exemption that redesignation and subdivision or subdivision in the floodway may be considered when federal, provincial or municipal authorities propose public access and use.”

Additional changes were also proposed to the LUB, including adding “a size limitation on additions and extension with a maximum ratio of 40 per cent addition and extension to 60 per cent existing building”, “remove the existing regulation for replacement buildings that does not meet the 1:100 year floor level requirement” and add “development in existing condominium plans (with approved stormwater management plans) do not need to meet the floor level of the 1:100 year design flood.” 

Open houses and public meetings have been held regarding the proposed  MDP and LUB changes.

Comments received following one open house included that the proposed changes should not allow area structure plan policies for flood hazard areas to be more restrictive than MDP policies, and concerns with the public engagement notification and method of engagement.

The province is currently working on its Upper Red Deer River Hazard Study, which includes updating flood hazards mapping for the region. The study maps are not expected to be released until at least the fall of 2021.

Coun. Angela Aalbers said until that mapping is released it may be prudent to delay consideration of the proposed changes to the MDP and LUB. 

“I’m wondering on the flood stuff whether it is worth giving a new council an opportunity to dive into it because province isn’t coming out with their maps yet anyway,” said Aalbers. “I’d like to get it done, but it might be a good opportunity  for a new council coming in to get to know all of that stuff because it is quite complicated.

“I don’t think residents would be too upset if we pushed it out to the next council. We do currently do have policy, it’s not like we are trying to make policy, we do currently have policy. I don’t think it is going to harm us to push it out for the new council to deal with it.”

Reeve Bruce Beattie said he would not oppose deferring consideration of the proposed changes until after the Oct. 18 election.

“We are still waiting on the flood hazard mapping,” said Beattie. 

Council passed a motion calling on administration to bring forward the proposed MDP and LUB change to the new council after Oct. 18.

“The (chief administrative officer) can work with the new reeve to figure out (the exact date),” said Aalbers.

Dan Singleton

About the Author: Dan Singleton

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