In a bid to attract new businesses and increase its tax revenue, councillors with the Municipal District of Bighorn unanimously voted in favour of rezoning an area for light industrial use in the east end of Dead Man’s Flats, Feb. 13.
By rezoning the area, the MD of Bighorn hopes to attract light manufacturing companies to the area as well as auto repair shops, offices and warehousing businesses.
“This was brought forward in accordance with the Dead Man’s Flat area structure plan (ASP), which was approved in 2015,” said Jenny Kasprowicz, manager of planning for the MD.
The new bylaw includes several recommendations to mitigate and reduce human/wildlife interaction, including a wildlife fence along the north and east side of the area, close to where a wildlife underpass currently exists.
Councillor Lisa Rosvold, who represents the area, said she was concerned the proposed fencing could potentially trap wildlife within the hamlet, rather then keep the animals out.
“Right now you’re asking for us to approve just a fence along the north and the east side of the east ASP area and without a proper and very clear fence plan from administration, I don’t know how we can approve a partial fence that would potentially trap wildlife,” said Rosvold.
In response, Kasprowicz said Golder and Associates, which completed a development impact assessment for the area, included wildlife fencing as a mitigation measure because there is a wildlife corridor adjacent to the area.
“When the concept plan is developed, that’s when the details around fencing and the landscape plan will be included,” said Kasprowicz.
According to administration, once the concept plan is complete it will align with a larger area structure plan for Dead Man’s Flats, which includes a conceptual plan to build a perimeter fence around the entire hamlet. At this point there is no plan to build the fence.
During a public hearing held on Jan. 24, the MD received several submissions from concerned residents about the new district, including traffic volumes, wildlife fencing, storm water management, property setbacks and questions about servicing the area.
In response, administration made several amendments to the district, including setting a minimum 1.5-metre setback for properties located on the north and east boundary of the district where the wildlife fencing will be installed.
A traffic impact analysis was also added to the district’s plans, however, whether or not it is done is up to the discretion of the MD of Bighorn.
“It’s likely that will be required,” said Kasprowicz, adding it’s common practice to complete a traffic impact analysis when a concept plan is being developed.
Once the concept plan is complete it will illustrate lot layout, density and access to the industrial district before a more detailed subdivision plan can be done.