Original email from Sheryl Johnson :
This is a very interesting website, I can only assume the people responsible own land in Colchester? Arguing the point about the different soil types between the 2 areas is of no use.
Firstly if the County of Strathcona doesn’t develop Bremner, the portion of land from Fort Saskatchewan to TWP 540 WILL be annexed by the City of Fort Saskatchewan and the 30 year agreement signed in 2001 will be overthrown by the province. This land has better soil than the Bremner area as well and that won’t stop Fort Saskatchewan from growing. Either way there will be development through the HWY 21 corridor between Fort Saskatchewan and Sherwood Park.
The County will have no defense against annexation of their northern border if they chose Colchester. A long history of fighting annexation of County lands will be lost if Bremner is not chosen as the future growth node, and the type of soil is not going to play a part in stopping the future growth of one of the fastest growing cities in the country (Fort Saskatchewan). Iris Evans stated “we will not allow our borders to be chiseled away” when she was Reeve. Unless the current council does not have concerns of losing the land north of TWP 540 Bremner will have to be the choice. The Capital Region board has determined the best location for next bridge to cross is at TWP 542. This new corridor makes all arguments for transportation being better in Colchester wrong as well, as there will be 2 separate ways to get to the Henday from Bremner and one from Colchester, also creating better access to the Heartland. The numbers for future employment in the Heartland being in the “hundreds” is also false by every other studies estimates. Please be specific on where these numbers came from as they are completely false unless you are only looking 3 -5 years ahead.
Lastly, the entire city of Edmonton and Sherwood Park were built on #1 and #2 soils, the amount of farmland that would be consumed by Bremner is minuscule, there are single farms that are much larger than this, debating about this “valuable” farm land is pointless, development is inevitable for this area, Fort Saskatchewan has nowhere to go but south. They can’t go west or north and are hampered severely to the east.
Either it’s the County of Strathcona and Bremner or it’s The City of Fort Saskatchewan’s new growth node up to TWP 540.
My guess is the County choses Bremner or they lose big time to “The City of Fort Saskatchewan” in the long run. This is a much bigger picture than Colchester has worse soil and theres going to be an LRT in Millwoods, these arguments will fail any logical discussion about long term future growth.
Response from Darrel Clarkson :
Firstly let me point out that I own no property in Colchester and therefore write from a totally objective position. As a long term resident of Sherwood Park – ever since I studied the first two Consultant’s reports and listened to the Planning & Development Staff’s recommendation that Council vote to expand the boundaries of Sherwood Park South into the “Colchester” area I supported the concept as the most logical, least expensive and most ideal location for Sherwood Park and the County to grow.
The location is a natural extension for the utilities and infrastructure of Sherwood Park and is close to existing services and facilities. Extension of The Park into that area would result in by far the least cost to County and Sherwood Park taxpayers. Furthermore since the largest number of residents already live in this area and travel daily to work or attend Post Secondary Intuitions in Edmonton it is the most convenient location, requires the least distance to travel and would be close to the Millwoods LRT extension. Future Consideration should be given to constructing a connecting County LRT line.
The Topography of the area makes it ideal for progressive, one Sub-Division at a time, development as population growth dictates. This as opposed to sinking massive amounts of upfront taxes dollars- current estimates are around $2 Billion including the nine required overpasses – into developing a New community from scratch! It makes no economic sense.
Furthermore it DOES MATTER, contrary to Ms. Johnson’s assertion, what type of soil is preserved to meet ever increasing demands for Agricultural products. Why would anyone pave over prime soils when lesser quality soil locations are available? It is an insane notion that our Municipal & Provincial Agricultural Departments would allow this to happen.
As for the speculation that the City of Fort Saskatchewan will expand further south onto those Agricultural lands —- well that must be prevented for by the County & Provincial Governments for the same reasons that Bremner should not be considered.
Finally, from my perspective the Community of Ardrossan, which is being neglected and the Wye Road Area leading to it would be a far more logical expansion area than Bremner. The fabulous, underutilized Recreation Facility and the need for additional commercial and residential development to serve the residents in that Community must surely take precedence over the costly pie in the Sky New Town of Bremner. How the million dollar Strategy development plan ever got approved for there in the first place does not speak well for the competency of the County Council of that day.
Darrell Clarkson, Sherwood Park