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County flood hazard public hearing delayed

"...there is still an extreme amount of confusion out there as to what the changes are going to mean, as well as the ongoing angst..."
MVT James River Community Hall
Flooding near the James River Community Hall in 2005. File photo/MVP Staff

MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY - County councillors will be consulting with residents regarding proposed amendments to the municipal development plan (MDP) and the land use bylaw (LUB) regarding flood hazard.

During the recent council meeting, councillors passed a motion that reads: “That local councillors hold public meetings to provide residents with information regarding the proactive amendments to the MDP and LUB to address flood hazard areas, and that administration bring the matter back for discussion to the July council meeting for discussion and further council direction.”

Following a virtual open house on April 19 regarding the proposed changes, administration recommended that the proposed changes go to public hearing.

During the May 26 council meeting, Coun. Angela Aalbers said after consultation with residents, she believed a delay in holding the public hearing was prudent.

“I’ve had quite a few discussions with a lot of my residents with respect to the flood hazard mapping and the impact of these proposed changes,” said Aalbers. “

Although I know we did our best on trying to inform everyone, there is still an extreme amount of confusion out there as to what the changes are going to mean, as well as the ongoing angst the people have with regard to dealing with Alberta Environment on the flood mapping. It is creating a lot of issues with the residents.”

Numerous landowners in her division are asking the county to delay bringing the proposed changes to a public hearing for at least a month or two so there is more time for engagement, she said.

Aalbers says she is trying to set up a meeting with Jason Nixon, area MLA and minister of Environment and Parks, “so we can at least get a little bit of priority on the mapping.”

“I do not think it is an unreasonable request because the impact could potentially be so large on those landowners,” she said.

Reeve Bruce Beattie says he has also had several calls from residents asking for further consultations.

“It’s important that we get this right and recognize the impact this will have on some of the landowners,” he said. “I would certainly support Angela’s proposal that we delay this.”

Coun. Al Kemmere and Coun. Peggy Johnson both also said they support a delay to allow for more engagement.

Changes 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.”

The county has received a number of letters of concern from residents regarding the proposed changes, including the impact in resale value on property and a concern not to allow area structure plan policies for flood hazard areas to be more restrictive than MDP policies.

“With this motion it gives us some flexibility and indicates to the residents that we are hearing their concerns and we want to make sure we have a proper bylaw in place,” said Beattie.

All councillors attended the May 26 council meeting. 









Dan Singleton

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