Shared growth promoted

The map shows the proposed boundaries in the inter-municipal development plan in Big Lakes County around the town of High Prairie. County council wants the IDP area smaller.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Big Lakes County and the Town of High Prairie are ready to finalize an inter-municipal development plan.

At its regular meeting May 8, county council gave first reading to bylaw 09-2019 for the IDP.

A public hearing is scheduled for June 12 in the county chambers at 1 p.m.

Council is concerned about the wide IDP area and referred the plan back to the joint county-town review committee to reduce the size.

“We’re giving High Prairie too much land to have say about our land,” South Sunset House – Gilwood Councillor Ann Stewart says.

CAO Jordan Panasiuk notes the county and town councils decide the boundaries.

“If you make the boundaries smaller it will be in the best interest of the county,” Stewart says.

North Gilwood – Triangle Councillor Ken Matthews agrees the plan area is too large.

He notes the area was larger when the IDP was discussed by residents at a workshop Nov. 27.

The IDP encourages the county and the town co-operate to promote growth to benefit both municipalities.

“The IDP with the Town of High Prairie is now in its final stages,” says Pat Olansky, director of planning and development.

“Public consultation and workshops have taken place and the committee has reviewed the plan.”

The complete plan is being reviewed by the town and county internal departments, county solicitors, school divisions and Alberta Environment and Parks.

Preserving farmland and shared economic development are top priorities in the IDP.

“The county and the town shall work together to promote economic development opportunities in the IDP area,” states the document prepared by Green Space Alliance Consulting Inc.

Economic development and preserving agricultural land in the area are priorities for both councils.

The IDP encourages tourism-oriented businesses in the highway commercial areas along Highway 2 and Highway 749 to serve travellers.

Industrial development is encouraged to expand existing forestry and manufactured wood industrial development.

The IDP also suggests the county and town partner to explore a tourism information centre along Highway 2 and a multiplex.

It suggests the municipalities create a joint committee to champion the task of pursuing a multiplex at the appropriate time.

Both municipalities shall review the IDP annually by administration and identify any issues to the joint steering committee.

A major review and update is recommended every five years and include public consultation.

Copies of the draft IDP bylaw are available at the county office in High Prairie and online at www.biglakescounty. ca.

The map shows the proposed boundaries and land-use concepts in the inter-municipal development plan in Big Lakes County around High Prairie. County council wants the IDP area smaller.

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