Controversial Red Deer County development gets green light

Red Deer County municipal planning commission gave its support on Tuesday

A controversial Red Deer County housing development was narrowly approved for subdivision.

The county’s municipal planning commission voted 4-3 in favour on Tuesday of subdivision for Poplar Pointe Estates, a 39-lot housing project to be built near Poplar Ridge several km west of Red Deer.

Many residents in nearby subdivisions, including Harvey Heights and Mountain View Estates, have fought against the project, fearing there isn’t enough water to support it. A 267-name petition opposing the project was submitted at an earlier planning stage.

Those concerns were also expressed again during the planning commission’s debate on the project.

Coun. Christine Moore said the project was turned down in 2007 because of water concerns.

“If nothing has changed, why are we here today?”

Moore said she wanted to see another water study done to ensure supplies were adequate.

“We know water is life and a property without water is worthless,” she said.

Mayor Jim Wood and Coun. Jean Bota also expressed concern that a new development could affect water supplies for existing subdivisions.

County resident Hudson Hunt also raised questions about the report prepared for the developer that shows there is enough water. He was accompanied by a landowner whose well data was included in the report even though he insists his well was never tested.

Hunt said that leads to questions about the accuracy of the report.

Developer Reg Whyte said two separate water studies have been done — the most recent submitted to the county in the summer — confirming enough water is available.

Moore, Wood and Bota voted to defer subdivision approval until water report issues could be discussed with Alberta Environment and further confirmation received that there is enough water available. The vote was lost 4-3.

Alberta Environment, not the county, is responsible for issuing the water licence for the development after determining how much water is available.

A motion to approve subdivision was passed by the same 4-3 margin with Councillors Richard Lorenz, Don Church, Philip Massier and Connie Huelsman in favour. Later in the morning, council passed a bylaw rezoning the 133-site to country residential from agriculture.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

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