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Mountain View County not looking at 15-minute city concept

Mountain View County councillors have been fielding quite a few questions from social media posts regarding what is going on in Thorhild County, says reeve

MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY - The public is welcome to provide input into a planned review of the land use bylaw (LUB), reeve Angela Aalbers said during the Feb. 8 council meeting.

The county has included a review of the bylaw as part of the municipality’s workplan using internal resources.

The county routinely reviews the LUB, which sets out the rules and conditions of land use such as development, every two to three years.

“The topic of land use bylaw has been a focus among some groups on social media in recent days,” said Aalbers. “Mountain View County is aware of concerns regarding proposed changes to the land use bylaw in Thorhild County and has heard further concerns that Mountain View County may plan to implement similar change. We would like to address these concerns.”

MVC is the final decision-making authority on any changes to the land use bylaw and will base any potential changes on public feedback, she said.

“Mountain View County’s review process is separate and distinct from the process that other municipalities undergo, as every municipality is different and has distinct issues and ideas,” she said.

The county’s review of the LUB is in the early stages at this point, she said.

“Please be assured that residents will have an opportunity to participate in public education and engagement sessions and that notice of these sessions will be posted on our website and mobile app, printed in the local newspaper, as well as advertised on our social media channels,” she said.

She noted the land use bylaw review will not be considering a so-called 15-minute city concept, where most daily necessities and services are located within a reachable 15-minute walk or cycle ride.

“There is no intention whatsoever to look at a 15-minute city concept,” she said. “This is an urban-focused idea that we feel plays no role in the rural municipality. 

"Please rest assured that this county will not be looking at a 15-minute city idea and we will do our land use bylaw (review) as we have always done it, with intense and directed public input.”

During council’s review of the quarterly planning and development plan later in the council meeting, reeve Aalbers made further comments about the review.

“With regard to the 15-minute cities, we know that this is a very urban centric focused idea and concept, so know that Edmonton is looking at it,” she said. “Calgary is looking at it. I’m sure that most of the urban centres of looking at it.

“We see this as not suitable at all for the rural lifestyle and what we are trying to achieve as far as being agriculture focused. I don’t think, unless anyone tells me different around this (council) table, that Mountain View County has any appetite or interest in trying to review a 15-minute city concept in the rural setting.

“So anyone that is concerned about 15-minute cities, staying in Mountain View County and you won’t have to worry about it.” 

In a follow-up Albertan interview, Aalbers was asked why she decided to make comments about the issue of 15-minute cities.

“Councillors have been fielding quite a few questions from social media posts regarding what is going on in Thorhild County and we were aware that there were some people who had come to the (Feb. 8) council meeting expecting that council would be discussing changes to the land use bylaw and we felt there were some people on our Zoom platform, the virtual platform, who were also interested in discussing the land use bylaw," she said.

“I wanted to make them aware that that was not on the council agenda and we were not going to be discussing any amendments or changes to the land use bylaw at the Feb. 8 council meeting.”

Asked if the calls councillors have been fielding are in regards to the World Economic Forum and/or the United Nations, she said, “I think that is the concern from some people. The county is not looking at implementing a 15-minute city concept.

“What people’s interpretation of that (15-minute city concept) is I’m not sure and that’s up to people. We just want to assure our residents within the county that Mountain View County as a rural, agriculture-focused county is not interested in looking at a 15-minute city concept.”

Information on the LUB review process can be found on the county’s website.

Dan Singleton

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