City, county revisiting development agreement

Slower-than-anticipated growth in the Red Deer area has prompted the city and county to revamp a shared development plan.

Slower-than-anticipated growth in the Red Deer area has prompted the city and county to revamp a shared development plan.

Under the original intermunicipal development plan adopted in 2007, the City of Red Deer was expected to “endeavour to annex all the lands within the City Growth Area within 10 years.”

Enough land is included in the city’s growth area to accommodate a population of 300,000.

Meeting that goal would leave the city on the hook for annexing another 234 quarter sections — more than double the city’s current footprint — by the year 2017.

“We recognize that this might not be mutually beneficial for neither the city or the county,” said Red Deer County Mayor Jim Wood.

It would be difficult for the city to take on such a massive chunk of land. At the same time, the county would suffer because it would lose tax income from the land.

Wood said a balance needs to be sought. “

We’re trying to make sure the city has an appropriate amount of land so we’re not restricting their growth, but on the other hand not giving them so much land that they have hundreds of years of supply.”

Instead, the municipalities are striving to create a formula that will outline anticipated maximum and minimum land needs depending on a variety of factors. “We’ll try to come up with a formula to guide further annexations.”

Both municipalities are considering eliminating any expiration date for the intermunicipal plan, which was to have ended on July 5, 2017.

The city has undertaken two annexations since the intermunicipal development plan was signed by the neighbouring municipalities. About 55 quarter sections — or around 8,800 acres — was added to the city, increasing its size by about 50 per cent.

Among other changes being considered is creating a better system for letting the public know about joint initiatives and planning efforts being undertaken by the municipalities. A website has been proposed and both councils have asked that a public consultation system be set up for major and minor amendments to the plan.

On Tuesday, Red Deer County council unanimously voted to direct staff to work with their city counterparts to create amendments to the intermunicipal development plan. City council passed a similar motion on Monday.

A public consultation and hearing process must be undertaken before the changes are adopted.

For more information go to www.rdcounty.ca or www.reddeer.ca.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com