A plan to direct development around Gleniffer Lake that some landowners fear doesn’t go far enough to protect the area was approved by Red Deer County on Tuesday.
The Gleniffer Reservoir Shorelands Area Structure Plan includes a 300-metre buffer against development around the reservoir. Multi-lot subdivisions are restricted to a maximum of 199 lots and no more than 32 per quarter section.
Some residents have raised concerns that too much development is allowed under the plan and increased recreational usage will jeopardize area water supplies and damage the environment around the reservoir.
Councillor Jim Lougheed said he could not support the plan as it stands. Landowners in his division remain concerned that questions remain about how much density will be allowed and at what point pressure from recreational users will dictate how the reservoir is operated. Some have argued recreational users could influence operators to keep water levels high for boaters when reservoir levels should be dropped to help downstream users.
Built in the early 1980s, Dickson Dam and its reservoir were meant to ensure stable water supplies for communities in the Red Deer River basin.
Lougheed acknowledged the plan was a compromise, but said he had to oppose it to represent the interests of ratepayers.
Councillor David Hoar agreed some of the changes had been met with opposition. However, the final plan provides more protection for the reservoir and ensures its role as a water source takes priority over any recreational use. There are also provisions in place to ensure only the most suitable kinds of developments will be allowed.
“Quite frankly, I think we’ve put our development standards very high.”
The new structure plan puts in place more stringent development rules than the plan it replaces, said Councillor Jim Wood.