Wheatland County opposes membership to Calgary Board
Inclusion with Calgary Regional Growth Board doesn’t sit well
Wheatland County is speaking out about its membership in the Calgary Regional Growth Management Board.
According to the regulation discussion guide prepared by Municipal Affairs, “It is proposed that Growth Management Boards be composed of the large urban municipality (i.e. Calgary or Edmonton), all rural municipalities that are adjacent...”
Wheatland County is not, nor has it ever been, adjacent to Calgary and yet, according to the Alberta Government, it is still being forced into the Calgary Metropolitan Region growth management board.
“We are, first of all, against any type of forced participation,” stated Reeve Glenn Koester. “We have made our position clear with several letters and discussions with Municipal Affairs.”
The most recent communication from Minister Larivee (Municipal Affairs), received January 12, 2017, states, “...the intended outcome of the growth management boards is to ensure that planning around the largest urban centers in Alberta occurs in an efficient and effective way...it only makes sense to also include portions of Wheatland County...”
This is unacceptable to Wheatland County and, according to Council, there is concern they will lose their ability to determine their own growth if forced onto the board.
“Regarding the voting structure, it is unacceptable that one municipality has the ability to control the agenda through the double majority voting model,” Koester explained. “The Board’s growth and servicing plans will be determined, based on the planned voting structure, by the City of Calgary. There are obviously going to be different perspectives and different needs between rural and urban groups but, because of population rather than merit, the concerns of the rural groups will not be addressed,” Koester continued. “Even if every rural community that is part of this proposed Board votes together, the large urban centre (Calgary) has the ability to out-vote them. Add to this, the fact that we will be expected to represent and speak on behalf of all the small communities within our borders, but have only one vote. The individual communities have no vote on their own, and it is quite clear—this is a dictatorship. Calgary is the only one with enough population to have any say in the decision-making process.”
The next meeting is planned for January 20, and the County Council will send representatives. “We plan to continue fighting this. In its current form, it is unfair to us and all other rural participants,” said Koester.
Glenn Koester… Wheatland County Reeve