Buffalo Lake residents support growth plan

Buffalo Lake residents have endorsed a plan to continue growth in the region’s prime resort area, with a focus on small lots

Buffalo Lake residents have endorsed a plan to continue growth in the region’s prime resort area, with a focus on small lots near the lakeshore.

A Buffalo Lake South Shore Intermunicipal Development Plan draft was supported during a public hearing last Saturday at Erskine School.

Many of about 35 residents at the hearing expressed support for the plan that supplements the Buffalo Lake Inter-municipal Development  Plan that was adopted in 2010 by the County of Stettler, Summer Village of Rochon Sands and the Summer Village of White Sands to guide future growth within the Buffalo Lake South Shore growth node.

“Most of our concerns have been addressed,” said Kath Rothwell, president of Scenic Sands Community Association, one of the two verbal delegations. “I am pleased with the consultation.”

Over the past several months, the committee made changes that responded to many concerns, said Johan van der Bank, director of planning and development for the County of Stettler.

“We support the document with other ideas that make it stronger,” said Craig Teal, planning consultant for property owner Independent Print.

With roads required by major developments, he suggested that the IDP include a clause that would assist developers to recover costs that benefit other lands.

Alberta Transportation recommends improvements to highways 835 and 601, though no funding or plans have been set, the planning director said.

“The planning committee will endeavour to determine which road upgrades and improvements will be provincially funded and what grant funding opportunities may be available and a trigger point for road upgrades so that off-site levies can be charged,” van der Bank said.

With the current pace of growth steady, he further said the plan requires water and sanitary services would be communal, economical and viable.

With the suggestions, the committee plans to make any reasonable changes for councils to adopt the plan in by the end of July.

“The committee has been unified to move forward,” said Rochon Sands Mayor Wayne Miller, a member of the committee. “We are committed to maintain and develop the lake with good stewardship.”

“The main thing is that the lake is for all property owners and users,” said White Sands Mayor Lorne Thurston.

Buffalo Lake south shore has potential to develop 2,377 new residential lots on the south, though an annual average of 12 lots have been developed in the past 35 years.

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