Growth Management Strategy
After reviewing the Growth Management Strategy and background documents John wrote the following comments to Rocky View in May 2009:
The FAQ sheet of the Draft Growth Management Strategy states: "Our region is changing - it has to because we are growing so quickly; Rocky View is growing, Calgary is growing, and other neighbouring municipalities are growing." This is not an accurate statement. The population of those regions is increasing but the land base and available water that sustains that population has not increased.
This strategy has from the outset been defined in terms of growth. It is unfortunate that options of limited or no population growth were not even considered.
Please note that population growth is not desired by the residents of Rocky View. Also from the FAQ sheet: "the key message that our consultants heard was that Rocky View residents want to preserve the rural character of the municipality... They wanted to see less fragmentation and sprawl.... ...protecting the character of their local communities. They wanted to protect open spaces and the natural landscape. They wanted new businesses to provide jobs and financial stability for the municipality, and they wanted to find a way to provide high quality and cost effective services to accommodate this growth."
None of these key messages to the consultants express a desire for increasing the population of Rocky View. The desire for population growth is coming from landowners and other development interests that are keen to make huge profits converting farmland to residential units. In most cases these urban developments outside of urban areas are essentially subsidized by other levels of government to provide road improvements, school buildings, and other infrastructure.
Cost of services study table 3-8 shows the operating costs for conventional urban residential development exceed the revenues generated by roughly $580,000 per quarter section of development. Yet the GMS emphasizes future high density residential development nodes. In terms of servicing, traffic, and amenities the ideal location for all of the urban developments proposed for Rocky View is to place those communities within the city limits of Calgary. (note--- The Small Holdings section has not been adjusted properly to a quarter section basis - assuming 20 acre parcels the loss is 8 x $1132 or $9056 per quarter section)
Co-Design_Visioning_Workshop_Report also fails to mention increased population as a desirable outcome.
The November 2008 Background Serving Study points out many issues with providing water, sewer, and storm water handling issues in the region to accommodate the growth. Rather allow the growth and be forced to deal with issues such as increased standards for water and waste water treatment and upgrading roads to urban standards the MD should simply reconsider the proposed model of allowing and encouraging population growth within the MD.
The November 2008 Background Serving Study also states "It is generally not the aspiration of the M.D. to become a fully urbanized extension of the City of Calgary." Yet what happens after 50 years of "sustainable growth"? What about after 100 or 200 hundred years? The planners and yes, the citizens, need to understand there is no such thing as sustainable growth. The proposed urban nodes that increase from 1000 to 10,000 people over the next 50 years will, at that same rate of growth, increase 10 fold again, 10,000 to 100,000 in the period 2060 to 2110. And on to 1,000,000 by 2160. At some point the growth needs to stop. Will it be before we run out of land and water or will we embrace growth at all costs that far exceed the capacity of the land?