Red Deer County’s municipal planning commission has turned down a proposal to build an event centre in a scenic area near Bowden.
A 5,600-square-foot wedding and event centre and 20 non-serviced RV parking stalls had been proposed for a 31-acre property about nine km northwest of Bowden.
However, neighbours were not happy with the idea of having a venue for up to 225 people located on a narrow dead-end road. The county received eight letters of concern, citing issues such as additional traffic, noise, trespassing, crime, potential environmental and wildlife impacts, and drinking and driving by event attendees.
County planners had recommended approval of the application with 23 conditions attached, including that a traffic impact assessment be done at the intersection of Range Road 21 and Highway 587.
Several councillors said they were concerned the applicant could invest a lot of money in the event centre and other improvements needed to meet the county’s conditions with no guarantee that it would not continue to run into neighbourhood opposition.
“I wouldn’t want someone to build something with that kind of investment and then get shot down,” said Coun. Dana Depalme.
“We want to make sure we don’t impact the community negatively,” said Mayor Jim Wood. He said he could support the application if the proponents made the necessary road upgrades and fenced the property.
Other councillors said there were too many concerns raised to approve and it was turned down 6-1 with Wood the only vote in favour.
The county has dealt with a number of event and wedding centre applications in recent months. In January, a proposed centre near Sylvan Lake was turned down because a similar venue was located nearby and planning commission members feared “over-intensification” of the area.
Another event centre was turned down at the same time on the southern edge of the county 30 km west of Bowden because of potential noise issues and over-intensification concerns.