I had the distinct privilege of being invited up to the Cochrane Ranchehouse this morning for the launch of the Calgary Regional Partnership’s Calgary Metropolitan Plan.
The Calgary Regional Partnership was formed in 1999 as a voluntary collaborative effort between 14 municipalities in the greater Calgary area (including the city of Calgary, of course). With a focus on preserving the natural environment and water resources, while fostering the region’s economic prosperity, this initiative has taken on the daunting task of managing the extraordinary growth in the area.
I’m going to take some time to digest the contents of the latest Metro plan (I’ll blog about it later), but in the meantime I encourage you to check out this overview video:
Now that you’re all intrigued about this fascinating topic of municipal development, go and check out the new site that outlines the CMP in a very well done, interactive and easy to digest style.
You might be asking yourself, why do I care? Well, if a “business as usual” growth pattern continues, there won’t be an “Okotoks” or a “Cochrane” as we know it. There will be the “Calgary Metro area”… a sprawling debacle of single family homes in cutely named subdivision after cutely named subdivision (last I checked, Tuscany was in Italy). I’m going to hunt around for some of the maps that I saw today and post them up. Concerning to say the least.
Of course, the business as usual growth pattern doesn’t have to hold true. Communities could embrace the following 4 principles of the CRP;
- Protecting the natural environment and watershed
- Fostering the region’s economic vitality
- Accommodating growth in more compact settlement patterns
- Integrating efficient regional infrastructure systems
And it’s one thing to embrace the principles, it’s entirely another to integrate them into decision making, and make the tough decisions now that lead to a different development path.
A final thought… Wainwright MLA Doug Griffith (currently the Minister of Municipal Affairs (@GriffMLA on twitter)) gave the CMP a glowing 2-thumbs up, including commitment to ongoing funding of the CRP initiative. Pretty great to see the various layers of government on the same page around managing growth!