MD OF BIGHORN – Last year was a big year for the MD as progress was made on new developments such as the Exshaw Mountain Gateway, a new corporate strategic action plan was approved and work began on the new recreation master plan.
Looking ahead to 2023, MD of Bighorn Reeve Lisa Rosvold is hoping that progress continues, beginning with an important hiring.
“One of our big goals is to hire on board a new CAO,” she said.
Robert Ellis was removed from his position late last year and Frank Besinger is the interim CAO for the MD until a permanent one is hired.
Along with hiring a CAO, the MD is looking to make improvements to Exshaw stormwater management, replace the plastic cages with metal bins, update the area structure plans for Jameson Road, Exshaw and Harvie Heights, and provide updates to various land use bylaws and policies.
“We are looking forward to the results of several studies,” Rosvold said. “That includes the recreation and community services programming facility plan, an employee review and the Matrix groundwater study.”
The Matrix groundwater study will help the MD better understand the causes of high groundwater flooding, the influence of storms, snowpacks, creeks and the Bow River area.
“We are very anxiously awaiting that study,” Rosvold said. “The study looking at what may be the cause of groundwater events in east Exshaw, but we are also looking towards what the solutions are. Council did approve a budget that has set aside funds to start working towards some of those solutions.”
In the 2023 budget, $750,000 has been set aside for stormwater improvements over two years. The money will develop stormwater and groundwater management improvements that will be based on the Matrix groundwater assessment.
Rosvold is also hoping to make more progress with the province on a variety of issues including compensation for emergency service response on Crown lands, and the safety concerns of shooting on Crown land in the MD of Bighorn.
The MD will also begin the process of updating its Municipal Development Plan (MDP) in 2023.
“The MDP is something that should be getting updated quite regularly,” Rosvold said. “I believe we are about three or four years behind.”
The plan was originally going to be updated in 2020 but the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and with community consultation being a major part of the update to the plan, it was decided to wait until more in-person consultations could happen.
Speaking of COVID, this will be the first year since 2019 that restrictions won’t be in place for the MD.
“I don’t feel COVID impacted the MD too greatly with the exception of the lack of in-person meetings and our office closing mostly to the public,” Rosvold said. “We are looking forward to starting conversations again and we have engaged the public in a number of different conversations lately.”
Rosvold added she is looking forward to meeting with the public to discuss matters in the MD.
“Having different opportunities where our council can meet with the public and hear what they are talking about is going to be important.”