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Council wants more discussion with county over development plan

St. Albert council declines to support Sturgeon County MDP ahead of CRB debate

By: Victoria Paterson

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Dec 04, 2013 06:00 am

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St. Albert has opted to not offer support in principle to Sturgeon County’s revised municipal development plan (MDP) at this time.

Instead, after an in camera discussion Monday night, Mayor Nolan Crouse said St. Albert council passed a motion that acknowledges Sturgeon’s need to prepare its MDP with recognition of growth as per the Capital Region Growth Plan and states that further discussions will need to continue between the two municipalities’ administrative staff on technical matters and on a political level about boundaries and urban and rural development.

The brief discussion council had in public before heading in camera showed some concerns from councillors, in particular about planned development close to the city’s northeast border and potential impacts on St. Albert.

Crouse said the motions aren’t a negative move. He said council wanted to have the flexibility for their representative at the Capital Region Board to determine their vote after debate takes place rather than endorse the MDP publicly ahead of time and have that endorsement interfere with the decision on how to vote.

“In this particular case this leaves us all the options,” Crouse said in an interview on Tuesday morning.

Crouse noted the motions are “fairly soft” and the point about a political discussion regarding borders is no different from comments made on St. Albert’s behalf at a Sturgeon County public hearing.

“So let’s have a conversation about ‘are the borders correct?’” Crouse said, adding he knows Sturgeon County also wants to have that conversation.

The St. Albert mayor has no concerns about the motion impacting county-city relations.

Sturgeon County Mayor Tom Flynn said Tuesday he was on holiday and hadn’t seen the motion yet, so couldn’t comment at this time.

The presentation given to St. Albert council on Monday briefed councillors and the mayor on the proposed MDP, which had yet to be approved by the CRB. It’s Sturgeon County’s most recent attempt to get their MDP passed by the CRB.

Staff told council their position was always that they would have liked to have greater involvement in the original plan. The staff recommendation to council was to offer support in principle to the MDP upon the designation of the developing growth priority growth area and future growth priority growth area identified in the plan as a “future study area with the understanding that further discussion will occur between Sturgeon and St. Albert administrations regarding the topics detailed in this agenda report.”

Former mayor Richard Plain had appeared before council earlier in the meeting and suggested council not offer their support to the MDP, citing concerns about the development growth area and the need for more public consultation among others.

“This is basically the most important long-run decision you will make in your entire next four years,” Plain said.


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