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!