Local ratepayers were invited to two separate open houses last week to review the proposed Intermunicipal Development Plan (IDP) boundaries between the Town of Peace River and neighbouring counties.
“This is for the municipalities to be working together on development matters, to be coordinating, and if they can to also be coordinating on the services they provide relative to land so they can become more efficient,” explained Alisha Mody of the Mackenzie Municipal Services Agency (MMSA) at the Northern Sunrise County open house.
“It’s the province’s way to try to get the municipalities to work more together. IDPs have existed as a statutory plan that can happen for many years. It’s only under the most recent change to the Municipal Government Act (MGA) that happened under this government that they did become mandatory, although that update process to the MGA started under the previous government.”
The first IDP open house was held at the Northern Sunrise County office for people near the Town of Peace River and Northern Sunrise County plan area.
The second open house was held in Peace River at the Chateau Nova for anyone near the Town of Peace River and MD of Peace plan area, the Town of Peace River and County of Northern Lights plan area, or the Town of Peace River and Northern Sunrise County plan area.
“We worked together to create a boundary that would be something the town of Peace River would be able to look at and hopefully it’s an economic development region within these boundaries that would support both communities,” said Northern Sunrise County Reeve Carolyn Kolebaba at the first open house. “So we’ve invited the public to come forward and have a look at what we’ve done.”
Northern Sunrise County had some unique problems to consider when drafting the plan.
“We looked at the watershed and how that flows. As you know Peace River is a real draw for a lot of water at certain times of year and we want to ensure that whatever we do within that boundary is not going to add stress to the Hart River or the tributaries of Pat’s Creek or the Peace River,” Kolebaba said.
“Some of the developments, if we were to put a massive let’s say a Walmart up here where there’s lots of pavement, that water would shed faster, so we want to ensure that both communities are economically viable as well as safe.”
Once members of the public have had the opportunity to look at the draft boundaries and give their feedback, the committee drafting the boundaries will reconvene and make any necessary changes before bringing the plan to a public hearing, before finally approving the plan.
“We’re looking forward to our residents coming and giving us some of their opinions on the boundaries. If they see that the boundaries are not accurate, should they be smaller should they be bigger, are there certain areas that we’ve included in there that the residents doesn’t see why that should be in there, this is a chance for them to come and give their opinions,” Kolebaba said.
For more information or to give your feedback, you can visit Peace River’s website here: https://peaceriver.ca/engineering-infrastructure/planning-development/idp/