Development moratorium in Mountain View County going to second public hearing

A controversial proposed development moratorium in Mountain View County will go to a second public hearing.

A controversial proposed development moratorium in Mountain View County will go to a second public hearing.

The hot-button issue drew a standing-room-only crowd of about 100 to the first public hearing in council chambers in Didsbury on Oct. 9. About two-dozen people spoke out against the proposal to bar new development temporarily from a 9,600-acre flood-prone area upstream of Sundre.

Recurring criticisms of the moratorium were that it encompassed too large an area and included parts of the county that had not flooded previously.

Council closed the hearing after five hours on Oct. 9, but voted at its most recent meeting to hold another hearing to allow residents another say.

“In essence it will be a continuation (of the first public hearing),” said Tony Martens, county chief administrative officer. Legislation requires at least one public hearing, but more can be held.

In the meantime, Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development is hosting a public open house to review and get public feedback on a flood hazard map and draft report created by consultants.

Information provided at that meeting will be considered by council before it votes on the moratorium.

Halting development is favoured by the county because of the number of questions swirling around flood-related issues since catastrophic flooding in southern Alberta in 2012. There was more minor flooding in Mountain View County.

In response to the disaster, the Alberta government proposed new restrictions on development in flood plains and flood fringes. That same legislation requires municipalities to update their own plans to ensure they meet provincial requirements.

However, until a formal flood hazard map for the county is adopted by the province, it is unclear which areas should be considered at risk.

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