MD OF BIGHORN – After a request came to the MD of Bighorn to build a convenience store on Richards Road near the Ghost River bridge, MD council has moved a step closer to allowing such developments in remote rural areas by passing first reading on the bylaw.
Passing the bylaw would create a framework for the community to discuss and permit potential developments and their impact. The Alberta government’s policy for developments on provincial Crown lands looks for municipal direction on private development.
“Our stewardship of the land is very important to people but an appropriate retail in more remote locations can play a positive role by creating a civil governance that watches what is going on,” said Peter Scholz, director of planning services. “The argument is that creating an easier route to that, it may be a partial solution to issues of poor land use and mismanagement.”
Some of the discretionary uses the new bylaw would allow in the rural recreation district include convenience stores, retail stores, gas bars, restaurants and commercial outfitting and guiding.
“This isn’t creating so that there will suddenly be mini-malls,” said Scholz. “It is creating two big steps instead of three big steps for any potential persons that are interested in these kinds of endeavors to proceed with.”
Municipal administration said most commercial developments would operate on private wells and septic tanks.
Scholz also said the current permitted uses in rural recreation district were extensive agriculture and single-detached homes.
Some of the discretionary uses in the rural recreation district include accessory accommodations, campgrounds, equestrian centres, staff accommodations, country recreation centres, cultural and entertainment facilities, and small energy generation systems.
A public hearing will be held Feb. 15 at 7 p.m.