Red Deer County seeks input on draft MDP
Red Deer County is seeking public feedback on draft policies created for the new Municipal Development Plan (MDP).
In addition to open houses held recently, the public has the chance to go online, review the policies and leave feedback on the county website.
“We’ll compile them all (the comments) and we’ll review them with the councillors,” said Peter Scholz, the long-range planning manager for the county.
He said residents have until May 16 to leave feedback.
The MDP is typically reviewed every five years and is “a very high level document,” Scholz said.
“MDP is the overarching vision of the municipality,” Scholz said.
The draft policies are not a huge departure from previous plans, Scholz said.
“There’s nothing truly radical,” Scholz said. He said many of the previous policy statements were “too general.”
“There was some need for more clarity in some areas,” Scholz said.
The draft policies were created after a round of public consultation in the fall.
The MDP draft covers areas like agriculture, residential, environmental stewardship, industry and commerce, recreation and open space, community infrastructure, intermunicipal relations and implementation of the plan.
“The protection of agricultural operations and minimizing the conversion of agricultural lands to non-agricultural uses is a priority,” reads the statement under the draft agricultural policies.
The draft statement under the residential section says “traditional country residential subdivisions with large lots and private on-site service are unsustainable.” The policies said multi-lot developments will only be supported in a “conservation form” to preserve environmental or open space features.
“We’re not creating brand new communities … without making sure it somehow blends into our region,” said Jim Wood, mayor of Red Deer County.
He said roads and environmentally significant areas are an important part of the MDP.
“We’re looking at things we didn’t look at as hard before,” Wood said.
Wood agreed with Scholz that there wasn’t any great changes in the MDP, simply updates and re-wordings.
As for trying to balance development with agriculture, Wood said “it’s never an easy decision.”
“Try to work it so our plan is as fair as it possibly can be,” Wood said. He said the plan tries to address all sorts of different kinds of development, from residential to industrial to resources, and how they can be achieved in the county.
“So we can have all types of development but mitigate some of the problems,” Wood said.
Wood said feedback so far has been positive.
“I’ve actually felt in general it’s been very well received,” Wood said.
The land use bylaw will have to be reviewed as part of the process.
“It all has to match,” Wood said.
For those who would like to give feedback but don’t want to be tasked with reading the whole document, Scholz suggested going to the heading that’s of most interest and reading those policies.
After public consultation concludes in mid-May, county staff will be taking the feedback to council. After the councillors have a chance to review it and give their own feedback, Scholz said editing will occur throughout the summer.
It’s hoped the first reading of the MDP bylaw will be in September or October, after which there will be a chance for a public hearing before all three readings are passed.
To see more information about the draft MDP policies, check the county’s website at rdcountyvision.ca.