Policies and priorities committee discusses MDP updates
Tuesday, Mar 01, 2016 06:00 am
Parkland Community Planning Services (PCPS) sent a delegation to the policies and priorities committee on Feb. 16 to discuss updating the Town of Olds' Municipal Development Plan (MDP).
An MDP guides a municipality's growth and development, encapsulating all the plans for what the community will become in the future – about 20 years down the road, though it can also include short-term action items.
Traditionally, the MDP is focused on land use, identifying how and where growth will occur, which locations will be used for residential purposes, commercial, industrial and so forth.
"But they can also cover things such as community and environment and social services. We're hoping with this review, to make it more comprehensive and a community plan instead of just land-use focused," said Natasha Wright, PCPS planner and a newly-settled Olds resident.
Other topic areas include economic and social development, heritage conservation, parks, recreation, culture, transportation, utilities and more.
Olds last adopted its MDP in 2007 and many say it's time for some revisions.
"I think on the policy side, the MDP really does need to be updated. We are growing. We're getting more sophisticated developers coming, knocking on the door. We have to be prepared for that," said chief administrative officer Norm McInnis.
"And we really need to take advantage of this window with the slowdown in the economy. Hopefully it will pick up again and we can be a bit more prepared for the next boom cycle."
McInnis added that council approval is still needed before any work starts.
The process toward a new MDP would involve significant public engagement, learning about the visions and ideas that residents and community groups have for the town.
A working group, composed of various stakeholders would also need to be formed for an advisory role.
"They would be working with us to form those policies and be somewhat of a link with the community," said PCPS planning manager Meghan Jenkins. "Then they would be helping us translate that into actual policy statements in the document."
She said the public engagement would take place in the spring. Once residents become occupied with their summer plans, then planners can work on drafting the plan.
Olds mayor Judy Dahl said PCPS's delegation came at a good time.
"However, we have a different landscape today. And that landscape is that we are now into a municipal cooperation agreement with Mountain View County," Dahl said.
The town is currently working on the sub-agreements for its inter-municipal cooperation agreement with Mountain View County. Those and the MDP would have to be consistent.
Wright said both can be worked on at the same time.
"If we move forward in parallel processes, we can make sure the policies and visions and objectives that we're developing with the MDP are in line with what they're also coming up with the IDP (Intermunicipal Development Plan)," she said.
"There's also the chance of sharing information from public engagement sessions that can be used for both."