Bremner: Boom or Bust?

Bremner: Boom or Bust?

Regionalism, amalgamation and annexation; the Pursuit of Excellence report; organizational efficiency; Priority Funds; elected officials accountability and professionalism… these are serious issues.

However there is another issue that will have the most singular far reaching impact on our community: the Bremner Growth Management Strategy. This study will produce a report that could be the framework to double the population of Strathcona County in 40 years or less.

Consultants have been hired to create a report focused on the foundational principles of growth in the Bremner area. It will outline: water and services infrastructure and source, population density, a set of land uses, major transportation corridors, open spaces, mixed use as to schools, businesses, neighbourhoods, and housing types.

It will frame the following overarching questions:

Do we want to grow?
Do we have the choice?
How can we best utilize the richest soil class in the region?
Will there be a downtown area?

What is in the best interest of the health and prosperity of our citizens?

Consider this. Nearly 86,000 individuals adopted Alberta as their new home in 2012, the highest level on record. The tally included nearly 46,000 Canadians from other provinces — just below levels seen at the peak of the last boom in 2006. Combined with normal growth, Alberta’s population expanded by nearly 116,000 in 2012, according to Alberta Finance data.

So, are we to warehouse the region’s population – or should we create a home? Do we turn them away? Can we choose no growth?

In reality the choices are few: balanced and thoughtfully managed sustainable growth, or, unplanned, forced growth.

We must avoid a sprawl much like we see in Detroit and, quite frankly, Calgary and Edmonton. Just take a drive and, as you bounce through the potholes, count the vacant lots in metro areas, both symptoms of urban sprawl.

Simply, here is my message. We must carefully and thoughtfully plan a home for our existing and new residents. This new urban home must be bold and innovative and challenge the rules. Triple the space allocated to green spaces for community gardens, parks, walking and multi use trails. Consider new and innovative land use zoning that will facilitate agribusiness in this area. We need to maximize the great advantage of the rich soils in this area.

Do not allow individual stakeholders to determine the future of your community. I believe in the wisdom of the people. And in such a critical issue, you as parents, children and citizens need to take ownership of this study. The upcoming meetings will be advertised on the County website and through my personal resident newsletters. I urge you to find the time to make your voice heard.

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commented 2013-06-14 08:47:52 -0600 · Flag
There is another session tomorrow 9 am to noon. I am going to a registered stakeholders meeting today and will report here. http://www.strathcona.ca/departments/Planning_and_Development_Services/Special_projects_initiatives/Bremner-Growth-Mgmt-Strategy.aspx
commented 2013-06-13 23:46:41 -0600 · Flag
Lin, you have hit on a point that I am hearing loud and clear from both our rural and urban residents: whoa up, just what is the hurry? Administration recommended another region for development prior to 2007 (Colchester).
Interestingly enough this current council is not advocating for a growth management study (visioning) of BOTH areas PRIOR to creating the basic framework that will allow developers to ‘move in’ (recall the gold rush era of our great grand parents). I have repeatedly said, if this area is being considered as a growth node for 30 to 40 years down the road for 100,000 people – should we not do our due diligence in a comprehensive analysis of all available options and avenues?
commented 2013-06-13 22:01:48 -0600 · Flag
Thank you for spotlighting this important issue. I don’t think the residents of Strathcona County realize what an impact this development will have.
commented 2013-06-13 21:57:36 -0600 · Flag
I attended the “visioning” session managed by the consulting firm. All questions were framed in such a way as to create the impression that the Bremner area WILL be developed into a high density urban area, greater in pop. than Sh. pk. Participants were given a few seconds to respond to a set of guiding, carefully scripted questions. Facilitators circulated with a microphone and the microphone was taken away if participants were off message or elaborated for too long. The questions "do we want growth in this area, do we have a choice, how do we justify development on some of the best agricultural land in the world and call it “sustainable” and “decreasing our carbon footprint” were not asked. There was no opportunity to ask questions. After responding to their questions, we were give a presentation on what a sustainable, people friendly community Bremner will be. A snow job and sales pitch disguised as input from Strathcona County residents.
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