Glenwood Village Council passes Municipal Development Plan

·3 min read

Prior to 2017, small Alberta communities with less than 3500 people did not have to complete a Municipal Development Plan (MDP), but legislative changes now dictate that all municipalities must create one. Approximately 125 of Alberta’s smaller municipalities are now tasked with creating an MDP for the first time, and the deadline of April 1st 2021 is fast approaching. After a public hearing last week, Glenwood’s Village Council passed their new MDP by bylaw, but not without much discussion at the hearing.

An MDP is a high level document intended to be a ‘view from 30,000 feet.’ The idea is that land planning years into the future is crucial because the way a community uses its land can impact the economy, society, environment, culture, and government. In the Alberta Guidebook for Preparing an MDP it states that the plan is meant to “aid the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) and Council in ensuring that the municipality meets the obligations of provincial legislation and creates a plan that benefits the community”.

At the Glenwood public hearing there were a lot of questions and comments raised by citizens in the gallery. 16 people attended the event in addition to the mayor and council, town staff, and two members of the Oldman River Regional Services Commission (ORRSC). ORRSC provides planning, GIS and subdivision service to many municipalities in Southern Alberta, including Glenwood. Planners Ryan Dyck and Hailey Winder teamed up with the village council and town staff to draft the MDP for the community.

Hailey Winder began her presentation last Thursday by explaining that since the first reading of the bylaw, the draft had been circulated to all necessary parties and notice was given to residents. Alberta Health Services and Alberta transportation both replied, but neither had any negative feedback. A few comments were submitted by residents, some with grammar changes that were made.

While a public hearing is not intended to be a forum for public debate, conversation from the gallery appeared to become such. Many commenters spoke to very specific matters that cannot be included in a broad document like an MDP- such as urban hens, volunteer work, and architectural controls. So, while there was a lengthy public hearing, it makes sense that council did not make any changes to the draft before passing it into law at the meeting. One suggestion from the gallery included ignoring the deadline, but council decided that it was safest to pass the bylaw now and have the next council review it after election time.

Still, planners at ORRSC found the content from the meeting constructive. In an interview with the Temple City Star, Winder said that what stays in her mind from the meeting is that “people like to be involved and want a document that reflects how they want to see their village grow”. Council’s intention seems to be to “move forward with the newly adopted plan, and continue to mould it and make it more tailored to the community,” according to Winder, and ORRSC looks forward to further community input as they add more substance to Glenwood’s MDP.

Elizabeth Thompson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temple City Star