DEAD MAN’S FLATS – The Municipal District of Bighorn has moved one step closer to preparing the east industrial lands in Dead Man’s Flats for development.
Council voted 4-1 in favour of consolidating two parcels of land into one large property, so the area can eventually be subdivided into lots after a conceptual scheme is approved.
The controversial area is part of Dead Man’s Flat area structure plan, which was approved in 2015.
“We’d like to move forward with the subdivision plan,” said Robert Ellis, director of planning services for the MD.
“It conforms with the Dead Man’s Flats area structure plan, as well as the land use on the property.”
The plan includes creating an area east of residential homes for light manufacturing companies, as well as auto repair shops, offices and warehousing businesses. It will also provide a new revenue stream for the MD.
In 2015, the Town of Canmore filed an appeal against the area structure plan claiming the MD’s plans to set aside 29 hectares of land for light-commercial development would impact the functionality of a wildlife underpass on the Trans-Canada Highway and the adjacent wildlife corridor. The Municipal Government Board dismissed the appeal in March 2017, allowing the MD to move forward with its plans, however, for the past 15 years the MD has been in land-swap negotiations with the province causing uncertainty about the future of the area. At the heart of the negotiations is debate about swapping land in the industrial district near the wildlife underpass for other land in the MD.
The MD and Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) signed a memorandum of understanding in July and consultations with First Nations recently wrapped up.
CAO Martin Buckley recently told the Outlook he is hopeful negotiations would be finalized by the end of the year.
Regardless of what happens, council’s decision to consolidate the two parcels of land into one property will not impact the negotiations.
“The subdivision process does not interfere with the land exchange negotiations, but provides a viable option to create a marketable industrial subdivision, should AEP not conclude the land exchange,” stated a report to council on Oct. 2.
Ellis told council that the province was made aware of the plan to consolidate the parcels of land and reiterated it won’t affect ongoing negotiations.
Councillor Lisa Rosvold, who represents the hamlet of Dead Man’s Flats, voted against the motion.