During the course of this campaign, I have seen several candidates expressing support for a new visioning process. Supposedly this will refresh the residents’ views of Canmore and lead to the creation of new planning documents. In some cases, the proponents want to bring a halt to all new planning applications until that process is complete.
I was involved in the development of the growth management strategy (GMS), which led to Mining the Future (MF) and led to the most recent municipal development plan (MDP). If done correctly (i.e., fulsomely), these are not quick processes. If memory serves, the GMS took two years (1994-95) plus another two years for MF (2005-06) and many more years to complete the MDP and I think the land use bylaw is still incomplete in terms of amendments to make it compliant with the MDP.
Our community cannot sit in a state of stasis for even two years, let alone 10. Those who would like to stand as Horatius at the bridge are doomed to fail and likewise doomed to take the community with them in failure.
I don’t think a lot has changed since 1995 – the problems or issues are largely the same, although some solutions may be different. Rather than spend two to five or more years navel-gazing, the new council should consider doing a six-month desktop study of the main documents – as noted above. What was proposed, what was done to achieve those objectives and what actions were successful.
And, then, in summary, what was left undone that still seems necessary. Only this latter element is truly important. Remember that the most recent iteration of the MDP was adopted only five years ago. It will cost some money because it will have to be outsourced, but that may be the price to satisfy those who think we’re still operating in the dark ages.
And also remember that council can’t just say “no” to development. Simplistically stated, applications must be accepted and reviewed and approved or not based on current statutory plans and approved guidelines. Decisions can’t be deferred indefinitely.
I urge the new council to be wise. We need affordable housing and commercial development and we can’t afford to whistle in the wind for three to five years to figure it out.