The Colchester Growth Managment Study commenced

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On Tuesday, September 23 council voted to “receive the Bremner Growth Study as information” which automatically triggers a motion from last November requiring administration to proceed with a Colchester Growth Study.  No further action will be undertaken on Bremner until the Colchester Growth Study is completed  allowing the two approved priority growth areas of Bremner and Colchester to then be fairly compared.  Six councillors and our mayor voted in favor of the motion, one against, and one abstained due to a perceived conflict of interest.

Responsible Growth for Strathcona County would like to commend the seven on council for ACTING RESPONSIBLY.  Six cited the need to proceed with the Colchester study to enable them to make an informed decision on future urban expansion.  The Colchester Growth Management Study should be completed within the next 12 to 18 months.  The Bremner study stated that a new urban expansion area is not required before 2020.

Responsible Growth for Strathcona County will continue to keep the residents and tax payers of Strathcona County informed about this important debate.

6 Comments on “The Colchester Growth Managment Study commenced”

  1. The recent poll in the Sh. Pk. NEWS stated that 58% of respondents were unhappy with council taking its time on the Bremner decision. This issue has been studied since before 2007 and it is still debated strongly. There never will be a decision when there are different views based on no factual data.

  2. Thank you for your comment, Mr. Young. Here’s what you said above :

    “There never will be a decision when there are different views based on no factual data. ”

    The truth of the matter is the 2007 Council which, unnecessarily, approved the Bremner “strategy” had the FACTUAL DATA which identified Colchester as number 1 priority area for future urban development.

    Here’s a quote from the 2003 Stantec study of the 4 nodes being considered :

    (Colchester, North of Yellowhead and East of Hightway 21 – Bremner, North of Wye Road between Sherwood Park and Ardrossan & Cambrian area )

    “Colchester was the most positive in each of the fiscal outputs.”

    http://responsiblegrowthstrathcona.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/2001%20Urban%20Systems%20Study.pdf

    http://responsiblegrowthstrathcona.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/2003%20Stantec%20Study.pdf

    The above links document the previous studies on this issue. Please feel free to read them. You will find that the 2007 council had the necessary data to approve proceeding with the development of Colchester at the time they directed the Bremner strategy be undertaken. Both studies concluded the Colchester area was the first priority for urban expansion.

    Furthermore, both the County’s agricultural department and the planning and development staff agreed with the consultants’ reports and recommended Colchester as priority number 1 for urban development as well.

    For some unknown reason, the 2007 Council chose to ignore the recommendations of tax-payer-funded consultants and their own staff in approving the Bremner strategy.

    1. Consider attending next county council meeting. Bylaws 1-2015 & 2-2015 propose converting 5 sections of prime agricultural land to industrial. This area is located right beside the proposed Bremner area.

  3. Darrell, you mentioned that Colchester was the priority #1 chosen area for urban expansion, regarding each of the positive fiscal studies. Well, I am skeptical when the sewage lagoons are much closer to Bremner. I was told that a huge capacity storm sewer would be required to control the high ground water table within the Colchester area. One resident of Colchester said it costs him 20 dollars per year for good water supplied by a sump pump in his home. Another resident said they must exist when outside with two mosquito magnets nearby their house. Darrell, each area has positive and negative features. Was the 2007 MDP a totally illogical plan? If so then you should be setting up the MDP where you take the flack from dissatisfied home owners and new home buyer in Colchester.

    1. Mr.Young,

      Darrell has asked me to reply to your posting since I presently reside in Colchester. My basement is not wet, and never has been. I know of no neighbors that have this complaint. I experience no more issues with mosquitos than when I lived in urban Sherwood Park.

      You ask if the 2007 MDP was a totally illogical plan. This council has rightly determined that the 2007 decision on undertaking urban development on prime agricultural land in Bremner may have been flawed given that it was not supported by the findings of either the 2001 Urban Services study or the 2003 Stantec study, and went against the administration recommendation presented to council in 2007. There are too many questions without satisfactory answers relating to that decision, and many factors have changed requiring the need for fresh information, such as the formation of the Capital Region Planning Commission.

      This council determined that it had insufficient information to make such a critical decision, and therefore commissioned the Bremner Growth Management Strategy and gave the direction that it was to be immediately followed by a similar Growth Management Strategy for Colchester. After both strategies are completed, council expects to have enough information on which to base a decision.

      As you are aware, the “Imagine Bremner” study has been completed and accepted by council as information only. You are also aware that the “Imagine Colchester” study is underway presently. It is currently in phase II which is the technical analysis and development of design concepts. This phase is specifically looking at technical areas such as land suitability, transportation access and utility servicing. This phase is projected to be completed and presented to council sometime this fall. Until it is completed, debating about the technical suitability for urban development in Colchester is really just opinion with out bases in fact.

      Something that I can speak to as an area resident is that Colchester is a large, varied area that cannot be characterised as being “all high water table – low lying land”. It is far from that. Most of the Colchester area is either cleared and broken substandard agricultural land, or tracts of treed land that was never cleared for agricultural use due to the unsuitability of the underlying soil for that purpose. The few existing significant wet land areas and topographical characteristics of Colchester can either be viewed as a constraint to development, or as an opportunity to plan a new and exciting urban area that makes the most of these features for the use and enjoyment of urban residents. It will be interesting to see the development concepts that come forward from the “Imagine Colchester” study. Again, there is nothing really to debate until the study is released.

      Keith Dreger

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