Rockyview snubs Calgary Regional Partnership

Lois Habberfield, reeve for the Municipal District of Rocky View and Bob Coon, chief administrative officer for the Municipal District of Rocky View, at their office in Calgary. Photograph by: Leah Hennel, Calgary Herald

Lois Habberfield, reeve for the Municipal District of Rocky View and Bob Coon, chief administrative officer for the Municipal District of Rocky View, at their office in Calgary. Photograph by: Leah Hennel, Calgary Herald

Rocky View County council formally decided Tuesday to withdraw from the Calgary Regional Partnership, following the move Foothills district made last week in protest of the regional growth plan.

And really, this should not come as a surprise to many.  Effectively, the City of Calgary is saying to the municipalities, “Hey, we’re more than willing to provide you with access to water and sewer servicing…but we have some conditions regarding future development that you’ll have to agree to first.”

Residents of these municipalities, as well as their Reeves-persons, clearly do not like the idea of having to be constrained by agreements that the City of Calgary is setting.  Rockyview has gone on record saying that this plan would “…take away the rightful municipal autonomy of Foothills, its land-use authority and the rights of its residents…”    The Alberta Government has hinted that it would get involved and wield its mighty MGA (municipal governance act) sword to make things happen.  And Rockyview Reeve Lois Habberfield  is calling for this, stating that she would like to see a mediator introduced to “break the impasse.”

This power struggle over regional planning issues is not new.  In the Edmonton vs. Strathcona County (and a few other dissidents) drama surrounding the formation of the Capital Region Board had a rather similar story.  Edmonton spearheaded the push to form a regional partnership in 2007.  Strathcona County led the resistance by withdrawing from the partnership,  stating concerns that Edmonton would have too much influence and power within the partnership.  The province stepped in and effectively, forced Strathcona County to come back to the table and afterwards, the partnership went into effect.

Given this past precedent, it seems to me that Rockyview (and the other potential dissidents) are banking on Provincial political support that their Reeves may never receive.

Read on…and comment!

M.D. Foothills withdraws from Calgary Regional Partnership

Rural partners to pull out of Calgary regional plan

Rocky View snubs Calgary regional partnership

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2 comments

  1. lipstickproject · September 17, 2009

    It’s my understanding that the Calgary veto has been a thorn in the side of all the rural municipalities and some of the smaller urban members for some time now. All efforts to have the governance model changed have failed. The provincial government has had many opportunities to intervene and have not. The Town Manager for Okotoks has stated publicly that they have been told by the Minister that they MUST sign on the dotted line and join the CMP/CRP. It appears that the MD’s are either in major denial of the facts or this is a drama that has been pre-scripted and is just playing out as planned. It’s a shocking threat to democracy when voters/taxpayers in one municipality can be overruled about matters of planning and development in their own neighbourhood by taxpayers in another municipality far away, with no recourse.

  2. Tom Howard, President UrbanCSA · September 22, 2009

    I don’t see Calgary’s veto as a threat to democracy at all – actually, I think the opposite. Calgary is already a major source of employment and recreational facilities for these surrounding municipalities, and the largest stakeholder in the CRP in terms of money, population and infrastructure. Without a comprehensive regional planning framework, in which power in the decision making process is proportional to stakeholder importance, we get disasters like the Cross Iron Mill Mall and further low-density sprawl just beyond the city’s borders. As I’m sure you are aware, these developments put a large strain on the resources and natural endowments we share as a region.

    The “threat to democracy” that you perceive is no more a threat to democracy than the way that we upload decision making on certain matters to upper tiers of government. Is it a threat to democracy when Calgary is not allowed to draft its own policy on war in the Middle East? I think not. In fact, I think it is appalling that decision-making that threatens the resources Calgary’s population of over one million people is being allowed to be made by surrounding municipalities of a few thousand around the city (~35,000 in Rocky View and ~20,000 in Foothills).

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