By Stan Ashbee
Southern Alberta Newspapers — Coaldale
Lethbridge County council passed the motion at a recent meeting to provide a letter of support for the M.D. of Taber to apply for a grant application under the Alberta Community Partnership (ACP), for a Multi-Jurisdictional Rural Intermunicipal Development Plan project.
The project is involving the municipalities of the county, Vulcan County, County of Newell, County of Warner, Cypress County and the County of Forty Mile.
“Every municipality, under the new Municipal Government Act (MGA), will be required to have an IDP with its neighbours. They would like a letter of support in their grant application under ACP to do a regional multi-jurisdictional IDP, as we’ll have to have one with them,” said the county’s Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Rick Robinson.
“We will have to have one with every municipality that touches our borders,” Robinson added.
Initially, Robinson explained, when the M.D. of Willow Creek brought it forward, the county declined to participate because the county had the City of Lethbridge IDP in the works, Town of Coaldale annexation and an IDP in the works with the Town of Picture Butte.
“We just didn’t have the resources. Priority-wise, it was so far down on the list. And then the County of Vulcan and the M.D. of Willow Creek came forth again another 18 months later and made a request for us to join them. It really wasn’t the same position, it wasn’t at the time required, it still wasn’t a priority. Now, under the new MGA, it’s a requirement that it will have to become a priority because they have to be done within two years of the legislation passing,” Robinson noted.
In hindsight, Robinson added, it would have been great to have had those plans locked down, but they would have had to be amended to comply with the new regulations coming out soon.
“Once those regulations are out, we’ll look at completing 11 IDPs. We currently have four in place,” he said.
A report submitted to council for consideration stated four of the six partnering municipalities are currently members of the Oldman River Regional Services Commission (ORRSC) and contract with the county to provide land-use planning services.
ORRSC, according to the report, is prepared to co-ordinate the preparation of two Inter Municipal Development Plans with the non-member staff and elected representatives.
According to the report submitted to council, the six IMDPs will be completed in conjunction with new initiatives unfolding under the modernized MGA review and the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan.
The report stated, the six IMDPs will incorporate the current visions, goals and objectives jointly shared by the municipalities, as well as reach consensus on new issues, yet to be identified.
The project timeline, the report stated, would be to initiate the project in 2017 with completion before the end of 2018.
As per the modernized MGA, municipalities will be required to complete IDPs with adjoining municipalities, as part of the Intermunicipal Collaborative Framework (ICF) — the report stated.
The report noted the M.D. of Taber will be requesting the $200,000 project to be covered by the Alberta Community Partnership Grant through Municipal Affairs.