Stettler County awaits Summer Village responses on possible amendment to Buffalo Lake development plan

Amendment could allow for more lots at the controversial Buffalo Lake RV Resort

By Jessica Jones

For the Independent

The Summer Village of White Sands and the Summer Village of Rochon Sands have until Feb. 14th to decide whether or not they will support the County of Stettler in an amendment at the controversial Buffalo Lake RV Resort.

The County of Stettler council passed a motion to request an amendment to the Buffalo Lake South Shore Intermunicipal Development Plan (BLSSIDP) during their mid-December council meeting.

The amendment, if supported by the Summer Village of White Sands and the Summer Village of Rochon Sands, could allow for an increase in allowable density from 168 lots to 325.

This came to council after the developer, formerly known as Paradise Shores, stated that it is not financially viable to continue the Buffalo Lake RV Resort project with the current density limitation set at 168 units on the 83-acre site.

Stettler County wrote letters to the Summer Village of White Sands and the Summer Village of Rochon Sands, as members of the BLSSIDP, to formally request the amendment.

The County of Stettler letter, dated Jan. 10th, and authored by Director of Planning Services Jacinta Donovan, recommends that the Summer Villages review and, “Provide support for the amendment to facilitate the proposed development.”

If the Summer Villages support the amendment, explains Niki Thorsteinsson, County of Stettler director of communications, the amendment would then be referred to the Buffalo Lake South Shore Growth Node Planning Committee and the Buffalo Lake Intermunicipal Development Plan Committee for “review and refinement.

“An amendment to the BLSSIDP has no effect if not adopted by all of the partner municipalities,” she said, adding that adoption of the amendment would require a public hearing and three readings considered by council.

If the Summer Villages choose not to support the County, council would then be faced with deciding to accept the response and cease to pursue the amendment or enter a resolution process with the other municipalities, Thorsteinsson noted.

The resolution process requires that the “dispute process” be completed within 60 days.

“If consensus cannot be reached within this time period, any of the municipalities may request a mediation process,” she said.

“In the event that the mediation process fails, the municipalities, through due process, may appeal to the Municipal Government Board.”

In the meantime, council will wait until Valentine’s Day for the responses from the other BLSSIDP members before any changes are made.

A stop-order surrounding the property issued in the summer months, which caused the removal of many RVs is currently still in place and will not be lifted until the property is brought into compliance.

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