FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Responsible Growth for Strathcona Website Launched by Concerned County Residents
STRATHCONA COUNTY, Alberta (September 15, 2014)
Presently, County Council is considering a number of urban growth options for Strathcona County. A group of Strathcona County residents who want County Council act responsibly regarding future urban expansion have launched an information website (www.responsiblegrowth.ca). They believe Council should be held accountable for management of tax dollars and the preservation of prime agricultural land. They live in all regions of Strathcona County including agricultural areas north of Highway 16 and south of Wye Road, urban Sherwood Park, rural residential acreages and hamlets.
It is well documented that the cost to provide municipal services always exceeds residential tax revenues. Strathcona County residents enjoy a high level of service and lower levels of taxation due to significant tax revenues from existing businesses and heavy industry.
Future urban expansion must take into account cost comparisons for available growth options to determine which are most cost effective, and must proceed at a scale and pace that does not exceed the growth in tax revenues from the county’s industrial and commercial bases. To proceed otherwise could result in significant property tax increases for residential property owners and industry alike.
According to an article published in 2009 by Dalhousie University’s Organic Agriculture Center of Canada, only one half of one percent (0.5%) of Canada’s agricultural land base is designated as Class 1. Class 1 soil is defined as being able to support the production of any crop, without restriction. The article goes on to say that “Canada’s farmland is a finite resource. Once removed it cannot be recovered. Yet urban encroachment and development, poor farming practises and loosely structured land-use planning policies continue to erode the small amount of viable agricultural land available to Canadians. Ultimately, Canadians are losing the ability to feed themselves”
The Alberta based ALCES Landscape and Land-use Group (www.alces.ca) is projecting that given the present Alberta population growth rate and conversion of our most productive farmland to non-agricultural uses, Alberta will be a net importer of food by 2055. In other words within 40 years, given current land use practises, Alberta will no longer be able to feed itself.
The Responsible Growth For Strathcona website provides further information on this important urban growth issue, as well as a vehicle through which County residents can get involved in Making A Difference to ensure Strathcona Council Gets It Right.