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Coming Up: July 16 Meeting

Council meets on Monday night. Highlights of the agenda include planning for land surrounding the new hospital and tweaks to the development permitting process.

Following is a summary and my take on what will be discussed. As always, any mistakes or opinions belong to me and me alone, not to Council or City staff.

If you would like to read any of the meeting's supporting material for yourself, you can do so by clicking here.

Development Permitting Tweaks

Through its work with developers, management has identified several provisions in the Land Use Bylaw which should be clarified. Council will be discussing Land Use Bylaw ammendments which will:

  • add a definition to clarify the meaning of completion of development
  • add deadlines for when developments need to be completed, with flexibility for larger scale developments
  • add provisions regarding suspending or cancelling development permits, and the process for doing so

These amendments seem straightforward and common sense to me. I am currently in favour of them.

Hidden Valley Area Structure Plan (ASP)

An Area Structure Plan (ASP) is a high level document outlining anticipated land uses within a designated area. Council will be debating an ASP for the area surrounding the new hospital.

Originally this land was set aside for Grande Prairie Regional College (GPRC). The college is expected to retain ownership, but does not need it for campus expansion. The ASP ammendments propose designating it for residential and commercial use.

Here is an excerpt which shows what is proposed:


I'm excited to see Hidden Valley develop. This plan complements our community and the immediate area well. While I have some questions to ask on Monday, I anticipate voting in favour of this ASP.

Southwest ASP and Stone Ridge Outline Plan

There is also land in the south of the City which was set aside for potential post-secondary use but which is no longer needed for that. This is on the South East corner of 108 St and 68 Ave: across from the Community Knowledge Campus. It is currently zoned as Public Service. An amendment to re-zone it as Commercial Arterial has been proposed.

This land use is already in place directly south of the property. It makes sense in this area. I anticipate supporting this amendment.

Westgate and Northwest ASP Planning Changes

Some changes to planning documents in Westgate and the Northwest ASP have been proposed. 

The main intent of these changes is to create a consolidated parcel of land. This will allow for larger scale development than is currently available. Changes to the planned road network will also enable future airport access off of 116th St.

If you want to see the proposals for yourself, click here.

One element worth noting: in new developments, the City is entitled to 10% of the land or the cash equivalent of 10% of the land. Anything land in this manner needs to be used for parks or recreation. Any cash in lieu of land taken needs to be set aside for future parks or recreation projects. The current ASPs and Outline Plans call for the City to take land. The proposed amendments will see the City receive cash instead.

I currently support the proposed changes. Encouraging industrial development to expand our tax base is a priority of Council- this will do that. Ensuring proper access as the airport grows is also important. Finally, I would rather us have money for future recreation projects than land in the middle of an industrial area.

Bonus Committee Information: Large Scale Tourism Events

Also worth noting: the Community Living Committee will be having an interesting discussion on Tuesday. It will be reviewing Large Scale Tourism Event Funding applications.

The Bear Creek Folk Festival has asked for a $100,000 grant. The Stompede has asked for a $75,000 grant. Potential funding for these asks is available in existing budgets.

Committee does not have the authority to grant this funding- its job is to take a preliminary look at the applications then make a recommendation to Council. A very likely outcome of the committee meeting is that these will be sent to the August 13th Council meeting for debate and voting.

To read both grant applications, you can read the Community Living agenda by clicking here.

To read about some recent changes to the Large Scale Tourism Event fund and my take on it, checkout this blog post.

That is what is on the Council agenda for this week. As always, I welcome any questions, ideas, or feedback.

Thanks for reading!