Residents weigh in on Sexsmith’s path to economic growth

·2 min read

Four Sexsmith residents have provided feedback on the town’s draft plan for future economic development so far.

Dave McRae, ISL land use planning manager, gave an update on the process to craft a new Municipal Development Plan (MDP) to council during its meeting last week.

“Sexsmith needing more amenities and being more self-sufficient in finances … was one of the main comments received,” McRae told council.

“None of the comments would give us reason to make changes to the plan - the major focus of the plan was to promote the long-term sustainability of the town.”

McRae said MDPs generally set visions for the next 10 to 20 years. Sexsmith’s last MDP was completed in 1999.

McRae said ISL has been working on the IDP for approximately eight months and prepared a draft before Christmas for public review.

Participation was low and it can be assumed most residents don’t view the MDP as controversial, McRae told Town & Country News.

One resident expressed concern about pursuing industrial development east of Highway 2 and how this would impact traffic flow, McRae noted.

He said this is a “valid concern,” but the land east of Hwy. 2 has already been annexed by the town with the intent to develop it for industrial purposes.

Alberta Transportation will monitor traffic between the two sides of the highway and determine if any measures are needed, like traffic signals or additional turning lanes, he said.

McRae also noted full-scale development isn’t imminent, as the plan is for a 10- or 20-year period or more.

Among the survey respondents, there was broad support for the MDP pursuing residential development and open spaces and recreation. Only half agreed intermunicipal collaboration is a priority and one disagreed it is a priority.

Participants also identified encouraging more businesses to locate in Sexsmith as an area where the town can improve.

There will be more opportunity for feedback when the town holds a public hearing, he said.

Council will have to set a date for a hearing, with McRae adding the updated draft might be ready for a hearing before the end of April.

Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News