Stettler County council requests amendments that could allow for more dwellings in controversial development of Buffalo Lake

Project density limitations would not be financially viable, developer tells County

By Jessica Jones

For the Independent

County of Stettler council has passed a motion to request an amendment to the Buffalo Lake South Shore Intermunicipal Development Plan that, if successful, could allow for an increase in dwelling units at the controversial Buffalo Lake RV Resort.

County of Stettler administration brought the request for decision to council’s regular meeting on Dec. 11th, following community engagement sessions that took place in November.

The engagement sessions were with stakeholders concerned with the Buffalo Lake RV Resort, formerly known as Paradise Shores, community associations along the South Shore of Buffalo Lake, councils of the Summer Village of White Sands and Summer Village of Rochon Sands, as well as landowners.

The motion, passed in a 5-1 vote, has been made by council to request an amendment to the Buffalo Lake South Shore Intermunicipal Development Plan (BLSSIDP) to allow for an increase in allowable density from 168 to 325, explained Niki Thorsteinsson, County of Settler director of communications.

“This means we will write a letter to the two other members of the Buffalo Lake South Shore IDP; Summer Village of White Sands and the Summer Village of Rochon Sands councils, formally requesting the amendment to the BLSSIDP,” Thorsteinsson said.

The motion also included that a moratorium be placed on further development within the parcel following a major review of the BLSSIDP by an independent third party.

If the increase in density is approved by the other two members of the BLSSIDP (Rochon Sands and White Sands), it wouldn’t lift the stop order, which is still in place, Thorsteinsson explained.

“The stop order would remain in effect until the subject property is brought into compliance with all applicable statutory documents,” she said.

“Once the property achieved compliance, the stop order would be lifted, then the 220 lease holders who have leased lots at Buffalo Lake RV Resort would be able to camp on their lease lots.”

Also, according to Thorsteinsson, the developer has 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.

“He has stated that RV Sites Canada had previously leased approximately 220 lots … and that they would need approximately 325 approved sites, allowing them to sell approximately 100 more leases,” she explained.

“So, according to those statements, we have concluded that without an amendment to the current approved density of 168, the existing 220 lease holders will not have a completed resort in which to put their RV’s and campers.”

No further dates have been set at this time and it is unclear as to when and if other members will side with the County of Stettler’s motion to request to amendments to the BLSSIDP.

Councillor Cheri Neitz, who lives in the ward of the proposed development, voted against the motion.

Councillor Ernie Gendre was not present at the meeting.

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