South Peace News
Residents have offered a variety of ideas for the Town of High Prairie and Big Lakes County to help create an inter-municipal development plan.
About 10 citizens helped shape an IDP for an area surrounding the town boundaries during a planning workshop Nov. 27 at the High Prairie Legion Hall.
“It was a good turnout of people and they had lots of good ideas,” says Big Lakes Reeve Richard Simard.
“We got a good start to the process.”
One town councillor also joined in the exercise.
“It’s about future development and collaboratively creating a plan between the town and the county,” says High Prairie Councillor Debbie Rose.
“It was a great education on the IDP process, it isn’t all about annexation.”
Better planning for potential future annexation, transportation issues such as highway access, increasing highway commercial development, impacts of the long-term IDP boundaries and waterways, and environmental issues were the top priorities shared in the workshop.
The IDP will focus on a limited area surrounding the town and will address growth and servicing issues in a way that respects the interests of both the county and the town.
“We want to make it a transparent process, it’s really a dialogue,” says planning consultant Dnyanesh Deshpane, principal of Green Space Alliance Consulting Inc.
Participants in groups agreed the High Prairie Airport be included in the plan.
Surveys online on the county and town websites or on hardcopy paper also provide a way for people to participate in the process.
Anyone wishing to file a survey is required to submit a complete questionnaire by Dec. 11 by 4:30 p.m.
The third phase of the process is set for January to March when consultants will draft a report about priorities and suggestions from the workshop and further public comments.
“We plan to draft a concept and report in about one month and present it to town and county councils,” says Deshpane.
After the report is reviewed by the IDP internal review committee, a second open house will be scheduled in March.
A proposed IDP will be presented in a bylaw that will also go to public hearing for both the county and town in the final phase set for April and May.
For more information, phone the county office at  523-5595 or the town office at  523-3388.