Lacombe County reinforces environmental protections

County council supports 30-metre development setbacks from water bodies

Lacombe County reinforced its commitment to keeping development at least 30 metres away from development.

Council approved changes to the Sylvan Lake Area Structure Plan on Thursday that enshrines the 30-metre development setback from water bodies. That setback is already in place in the county’s Municipal Development Plan, its overarching planning document.

There is some concern with the setback in the development community, mostly around how water bodies are defined. The setback applies to lakes, permanent streams, wetlands and “ephemeral streams,” which are defined as temporary, often only running during spring runoff.

Developer Qualico Communities called for more site-specific interpretation in how setbacks are applied to reflect local conditions and to allow approving authorities to have more discretion.

Another developer noted setback on either side of a small temporary drainage channel could mean 60 metres is off limits to development, a “fairly large swath.”

Coun. Rod McDermand questioned whether the setbacks were “sterilizing” property from development.

Dale Freitag, the county’s manager of planning services, said the restriction does not apply to areas that are mostly water-free, such as an area of a farmer’s field where water drains in spring but is farmed as soon as the land dries.

“That’s not the stuff we’re talking about,” said Freitag. “The intent is to protect riparian areas.”

Those include areas where wetlands-type plants such as reeds and bullrushes are growing.

The need to protect those kinds of areas was a message sent loud and clear by the public when the Municipal Development Plan was created, he said.

When developers are applying for their approvals reports from experts are typically required to indicate whether setbacks are required and would be reviewed by county planners.

“There are checks and balances in the system,” he said.

pcowley@reddeeradvocate.com

Just Posted

Christmas season in Red Deer begins with Festival of Trees

The kickoff to the Christmas season in Red Deer is upon us.… Continue reading

Judge allows Mr. Big evidence in murder trial

Two men accused of triple-murder admitted their involvement to undercover police

Red Deer agency supporting for LGBTQ2S+ youth

New report on LGBTQ2S+ youth from the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate

Four people arrested after gas and dash

Four people were arrested after an alleged gas and dash in two… Continue reading

VIDEO: Replay Red Deer: Nov. 19

Watch news highlights from the week of Nov. 13

Red Deer Christmas Bureau to help 1,300 children this year

Demand is high, but Red Deer always provides

CP Holiday train to stop in Ponoka for another year

The popular train will feature entertainment from Colin James and Emma-Lee

Kittens rescued after allegedly being tossed from vehicle

Couple finds abandoned kittens new home through Facebook

VIDEO: ‘Party bus’ goes up in flames in Vancouver

Fire crews responded to the late night blaze

Chicken crosses B.C. road, stops traffic

Rooster makes early morning commuters wait in Maple Ridge

Red Deerian honours her brother who died in a motorcycle collision

Houaida Haddad is encouraging Red Deer residents to donate blood

Red Deer County firefighters to be recognized for Waterton help

RCMP brass will give formal recognition Monday

Ron James tries to lighten humanity’s load through humour

The comedian returns to Red Deer for shows Dec. 1 and 2

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month