Plan protects farmland in county

Residents reviewed a proposed inter-municipal development for Big Lakes County and the Town of High Prairie at an open house March 7. Left-right, are Big Lakes Reeve Richard Simard, High Prairie Councillor Debbie Rose and residents Candace Barber and Cole Barber. Simard and Rose serve on the county-town internal review committee.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Preserving farmland is a priority for an inter-municipal development plan for the town and county.

Big Lakes County and the Town of High Prairie presented the draft IDP at an open house March 7 at the Elks Hall.

“The main focus of the IDP is to preserve agricultural land surrounding the town,” says Micheal Borland, planner for Green Space Alliance Consulting Inc.

An IDP focuses on future development in a rural municipality on the outskirts of a town.

“It protects farmland, which is what we want to do,” says Big Lakes Reeve Richard Simard.

“At the workshop in November, residents were concerned that farmland would be turned into land for development.”

He says the IDP will help both the county and town to maintain growth in the subject area.

Simard and High Prairie Councillor Debbie Rose serve on the county-town internal review committee working on the IDP.

Rose says the IDP opens the door to new development in the area.

“We’re ready for development,” Rose says.

“We can encourage more development rather than put up barriers.”

The committee chose designated areas to develop and she says the IDP states clear policies.

Priorities for land use are proposed for development in the draft IDP. [Numbers are on the map])

Agricultural

  • Preserve prime agricultural land north and south of the town boundary [area 1 and 2].

Country Residential

  • Expand existing country residential development next to town lands [area 3].

Highway Commercial

  • Promote highway commercial development along Highway 2 west and east of the town [area 4 and 5].

Industrial

  • Expand industrial uses in the west industrial area structure plan west of the town boundary [area 6].
  • Add industrial uses west of West Fraser [area 7].
  • Expand potential industrial development west of Midstream Industries [area 8].

Recreation

-Maintain county recreational lands [area 9].
After a public hearing, the IDP bylaw is scheduled to be adopted before June.
Consultants plan to update a draft from further comments and present a bylaw to county and town.

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