Red Deer City council and Red Deer County council continue to work together where municipal growth is concerned.
Earlier this week both councils held a joint public hearing to give second and third reading for amendments made to the Intermunicipal Development Plan.
The plan, which was adopted by both councils in 2007, identifies growth areas for each municipality. The City growth areas will accommodate more than 300,000 people, a need identified in Future Directions: 300,000, while maintaining the County’s own growth areas south of the City.
Before the IDP was formed the City and County were at odds over annexation for years, but buried the hatchet in 2007 and signed a Memorandum of Understanding.
During Monday’s public hearing, both councils unanimously approved the amendments to the plan. “I am pleased to see two councils come together to review the IDP. I think back to years where that not always happened and I appreciate where we are now,” said Councillor Cindy Jefferies.
Amendments include that the City should maintain no less than a 30-year and no more than a 50-year land supply for growth needs and every year the updated land requirements for growth would be reported to both councils, among others.
At the 2011 review of the IDP, both councils directed administration to remove the IDP expiration date past 2017, identify interim land uses in the City growth areas and refine the requirements for defining “quorum and chairman appointment for the Intermunicipal Subdivision and Development Appeal Board” and to create an annexation formula.
The purpose of the annexation formula is to provide a high level method of determining what constitutes a 30- to 50-year supply of land for the City. The formula estimates future land requirements by linking current per capita urban land consumption rates to historic population growth rates and projecting these forward 30 to 50 years.
This approach provides a reasonable approximation of future land requirements for growth at any point in time, with the understanding that these requirements may change over time as they are reviewed on a yearly basis to factor in growth rates and land consumption.
“I think if we annex according to the formula we can annex according to the economy and our commitment to the IDP still holds true,” said Councillor Tara Veer. “This is providing us with a step in the right direction.”