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Appeal heard on Dead Man’s Flats rink proposal

“There is a professional report stating that the wildlife corridor should be protected dating back to 2004 on the MD of Bighorn website. It clearly stated that there should be a 180-metre setback from the Bow River to give the wildlife space and no building work was permitted.”

DEAD MAN'S FLATS – An appeal on a skating rink proposal from the Dead Man's Flats Community Association (DMFCA) will be decided on by the Subdivision Development and Appeal Board (SDAB) before the end of the month.

The new rink, which was approved by the Municipal Planning Committee (MPC) on June 17, will include a shed where a small Zamboni and other maintenance equipment will be stored by the DMFCA.

The land has also been identified for potential future recreation by the Municipal District of Bighorn. MPC also required the community association to meet with Bighorn council on the rink proposal.

The appeal over the rink approval was launched by Robert Templeton, citing concerns over the impact on wildlife, parking, garbage, and fire.

“There is a professional report stating that the wildlife corridor should be protected dating back to 2004 on the MD of Bighorn website,” Templeton said. “It clearly stated that there should be a 180-metre setback from the Bow River to give the wildlife space and no building work was permitted.”

Templeton added a 2015 update on the report that stated no lights from the industrial area could shine into the wildlife corridor.

Templeton also cited concerns over the fire risk from tossed cigarettes, and the storage of fuel and propane in the shed for the Zamboni.

Regarding parking, Templeton said the area was already dealing with parking shortages, which he believed the rink would only add to.

“Parking issues make the current proposal unworkable and will only add to the chronic parking problems in Dead Man’s Flats.”

Under the approval of the rink, MPC had a condition that proper signage be added to the rink in case garbage was being left around so that the DMFCA could be called to come in and clean the area. The issue of garbage around the rink was also brought up by Templeton.

“The experience of the old rink was that beer cans, trash and clothes could be left behind for months,” Templeton said. “The skating development also anticipated that it could have summer uses. There needs to be a proper garbage disposal or removal plan.”

Brittany Shewchuk, a consultant working on behalf of the MD of Bighorn, responded to the concerns of Templeton. Referring to parking, she said recreational facilities do not have a minimum parking or loading requirement. The DMFCA was also asked to provide a parking and access plan.

“[They] indicated the pathway connections from the rink to on-street parking if required by the rink users,” Shewchuk said. “Appropriate on-street parking, if required by the rink users, was identified to be located on River’s Bend Way, and Limestone Valley Road, which could be used to access the rink if required.”

Regarding the wildlife corridor, Shewchuk noted the River’s Bend and Limestone Valley’s conceptual scheme established the plan boundaries, including the 180-metre setback from the Bow River to the north and the 30-metre setback from Pigeon Creek.

“The conceptual scheme notes that the lands to the north are identified as a riverbank setback zone and the lands to the east are considered the wildlife zone and natural area,” Shewchuk said. “The conceptual scheme does not specify that the 180-metre setback is for a wildlife corridor.”

Speaking about the fire risk, Shewchuk added the approval of the rink proposal included two fire mitigation conditions. The first required emergency vehicle access to the site at all times during construction.

The second condition was the developer should consider using FireSmart construction materials for the exterior of the building.

The conceptual scheme also does not specifically prohibit certain development types to be precluded from the setback area.

“It simply states that this setback area was used to form the boundaries of the conceptual scheme area,” she said.

SDAB will provide its appeal decision within 15 days of the appeal hearing.