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City appealing County area structure plan

The City of Grande Prairie is appealing a recent decision by the County. It takes issue with its Correction Line Area Structure Plan, which was adopted at the County’s council meeting on July 16th.

The area structure plan was one of two under dispute that were the subject of a rare joint meeting in April. That led to mediation, but Grande Prairie Mayor Bill Given says they didn’t leave with a solution.

“Council doesn’t intend this to be the end of conversation around this and move into more of a confrontational phase, but we did want to ensure that we didn’t lose that right that we have under the legislation,” Given explains, noting that they were facing a deadline to file.

Up for debate is whether or not the Correction Line Area Structure Plan fits into the Intermunicipal Development Plan the City and County adopted in 2010. Given says it was meant to have restrictions on County development in the area to allow for future City growth.

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“It’s the City’s view that this development exceeds the amount of development that was supposed to happen… If that’s the case, for me personally, it starts to call into question the reliability or the dependability of all the other terms of the Intermunicipal Development Plan.”

The ASP deals with land just west of Sunrise Estates, three kilometres south of Grande Prairie. It mainly proposes developing the area for light industrial use.

County CAO Bill Rogan says they knew further action from the City was possible, but share the hope that the issue can be resolved without further involvement from the provincial government.

“That doesn’t say we can’t continue to talk right up to a hearing and if we’re able to find common ground that things could change, but alternatively we were aware that ultimately it may fall to someone else to make a decision for us.”

Rogan hopes a choice can be made before next spring, so the developer can get to work without more delays.

The County had its own concerns about the City’s Hughes Lake Area Structure Plan, which deals with the land between the Grande Prairie Airport and Highway 43. It wanted an analysis of the traffic impact to be done as part of the plan, particularly for Range Road 70.

Since then, it has removed its objections to the plan, which was approved by city council on August 13th. Rogan says that was partly due to the understanding that it will have future opportunities to intervene.

“We did have assurance that throughout the next phases of an outline plan and subdivision plan that we will continue to be consulted and we’re comfortable with that.”

Given says this is not the first time the City has filed an appeal against the County under section 690 of the Municipal Government Act. However, it is the first since he was elected mayor in 2010.

The Hughes Lake Area Structure Plan, City of Grande Prairie
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