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Hearing held for updated county, Didsbury development plan

There is no annexation being proposed with the new IDP
MVT Didsbury aerial1
The new IDP excludes lands in the town of Didsbury and includes only those lands in the county necessary to coordinate land uses, infrastructure and future urban expansion. File photo

MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY - Mountain View County (MVC) and Town of Didsbury councillors have conducted a joint public hearing to consider a proposed updated intermunicipal development plan (IDP), which provides a framework to address land use, growth and development along the boundaries the two municipalities share.

The 30-minute hearing was held on July 14 via Zoom. Updating the existing 2007 IDP is required under the provincial Municipal Government Act.

The purpose of the IDP is to document the policies and processes that the county and town have agreed upon to coordinate planning matters such as transportation, infrastructure planning and environmental matters.

It also provides for ongoing dialogue, decision making, and, if necessary, resolution of points of disagreement.

The updated IDP will replace the existing plan, with key changes including the following:

• The area included in the IDP, and subject to its policies, has been updated. It excludes lands in the town and includes only those lands in the county necessary to coordinate land uses, infrastructure and future urban expansion;

• The intermunicipal planning commission and the intermunicipal subdivision and development appeal board for the IDP area have been eliminated in favour of focused discussion on planning policy decisions and land use bylaw amendment decisions;

• Specific long-term land uses are not assigned in the IDP and are to be determined through the county’s municipal development plan;

• More direction has been added to assist in the evaluation of future annexations;

• Consideration of the appearance along entrance corridors in the IDP economic node within the referral area has been added.

During the hearing Margaretha Bloem, MVC director of planning, said a virtual open house was held in May regarding the draft plan.

The IDP contains a provision for what annexation could look like in the future “where there is a demonstrated need as well as projections, developable land supply considered through the annexation process,” she said. 

The plan identifies the land area to which the IDP applies. There are two main areas: the fringe area and the referral area.

There is no annexation being proposed with the new IDP.

Asked by MVC Coun. Angela Aalbers to explain the process for possible future annexation, Bloem said, “It is all to be negotiated as part of an agreement through the annexation process and ultimately the Municipal Government Board will make the final decision.”

Ethan Gorner, the Town of Didsbury's chief administrative officer, told the hearing: “Not only is there no annexation contemplated as part of this IDP, there is also no annexation whatsoever contemplated in regard to this or any other plan that we have for the future.”

There were no in-person or online comments made by members of the public during the July 14 public hearing.

Following the hearing, county council passed second reading of the IDP bylaw, and deferred consideration of final reading to Aug. 11.

Didsbury council has passed second reading of the IDP, and may consider third reading on Aug. 24.

“Let’s hope the agreement stands the test of time,” said MVC reeve Bruce Beattie.

“Agreed,” said Didsbury mayor Rhonda Hunter.

The complete draft IDP, including maps outlining the fringe and referral areas, is available for viewing on the county’s website.

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