Buffalo Lake IDP Meeting
Concerns over a proposed RV Resort at Buffalo Lake led Lacombe County to call a meeting in Stettler on March 2nd.
Municipalities that make up the Buffalo Lake I-D-P attended, including representatives from Stettler, Lacombe and Camrose County, as well as from the Summer Villages of Rochon Sands and White Sands.
Opposition to the RV Resort began in late January when lake residents saw the size and scale of the project proposed between Buffalo View Estates and the Summer Village of White Sands.
Since then, a petition opposing the project has now collected over 1,000 signatures.
During the meeting, Councillor Brenda Knight of Lacombe County noted that they, “Only got the RV Resort documents two days prior to the meeting.”
She also took issue that the project is moving ahead to a second reading, when jurisdictions outside of Stettler County are just receiving the paperwork.
As a development permit has yet to be approved, preliminary work has been ongoing at the site.
The developer is allowed to remove old buildings and power lines. Other work including snow removal, wetland barrier construction and a temporary road access is also allowed.
Developer Dave Hamm made a presentation to the Buffalo Lake IDP, and was asked why he chose Buffalo Lake to purchase land for an RV Resort.
“Red Deer is considered an RV haven, and we wanted to find a location in Central Alberta.”
He went on to say that Sylvan Lake, Pigeon Lake and Gull Lake have already been developed, so they turned their attention to Buffalo Lake.
The County of Stettler’s Director of Planning and Development, Johan van der Bank noted that projects like this are often negotiated over a two-year period.
He stated, “They had their first inquiry into the land last August, and then received an application in late January. As RV Sites Canada began pre-selling lots a week before applying, our hands were tied to release the application publicly.”
Within the Buffalo Lake Inter-municipal Development Plan, there is a 60-day process where one of the member municipalities can file a dispute.
No motion was made to do so, as the project is required to go to second reading under the County of Stettler’s bylaws.
For now, the two land zoning bylaws need to go through a second reading, which may happen at the upcoming public hearing.
That will be at 1 p.m on Saturday, March 17th in the Heritage Room at the Stettler Agri-plex.
From there, third reading can be given at a future meeting to lay out conditions for final approval.
Some of these conditions may address issues such as an emergency plan for the RV Resort. Cell service, garbage disposal and dust control were also highlighted at the Buffalo Lake I-D-P meeting.
Provincial approvals are also necessary for storm water systems and other utilities. Potential highway intersection improvements and permission to place a marina on the lake in Phase 2 would need the Alberta government’s permission as well.
South Shore Community Association Concerns
Since the Buffalo Lake I-D-P meeting, the South Shores Community Association has highlighted issues they see with the project.
The 106 landowners from Old Bolin and Buffalo View Estates are concerned the RV Resort will push the area’s ‘Dwelling Unit Density’ far beyond the Area Structure Plan.
They also shared concerns about the perimeter barrier with Buffalo View Estates, the additional traffic volume in the area and capacity for boats on the lake during the summer.
Paradise Shores Phase 3
Since the RV Resort was first proposed, a Phase 3 has been added with an additional 200 sites to the east of the development, bringing the total to 1,000 RV sites.
If all goes to plan, the developer would like to be in operation by the May long weekend, with the first 340 sites in Phase 1 completed by June 15th.
From there, Phase 2 would see 100 sites constructed every five weeks throughout the next year, with the hopes of finishing Phase 3 by June 15th, 2019.
24 Hour Work Permit
The County of Stettler also met to discuss a 24-hour work permit for RV Sites Canada, but this application was later withdrawn by the developer.