Town growth prompts Stettler to revise plan

With steady growth and an outdated strategy, the Town of Stettler has initiated steps to draft a new municipal development plan

With steady growth and an outdated strategy, the Town of Stettler has initiated steps to draft a new municipal development plan in the next few months.

“The current plan was last updated in 1990 and does not reflect the current policies of the town,” said Leann Graham, the town’s planning and development officer.

Graham discussed the issue with town council at a meeting last month. Municipal planning consultant Dave Dittrick also attended.

Council still hasn’t adopted land-use policies for lands annexed from the County of Stettler in 2010.

“The town is growing and housing starts continue to rise after bottoming out in the late 1980s,” Graham said.

Council plans to begin the process to consult citizens with an open house in October and a survey, with a goal to adopt the new plan by January.

“It’s absolutely crucial that there’s public consultation so that citizens of Stettler can be a key part in directing growth of the area,” said Mayor Dick Richards.

“This demonstrates to the public that we have a document to allow for planned and structured growth where we can grow.”

As staff and council review the IDP and suggest changes in the next few weeks, the town hopes to present a proposed plan this fall.

“We’re looking at an open house in October and we hope to adopt in December or January,” Graham said.

Planners propose several updated policies, advising that the town:

— Endeavours to establish truck routes and dangerous-good routes;

— Supports inter-municipal partnerships for municipal services;

— Encourages co-operation with other groups to share facilities and resources;

— Supports downtown streetscape designs;

— May partner with the private sector to add and secure parking in the central business area;

— Supports home-based businesses in all residential districts;

— Supports adding linear green spaces and local playgrounds and tot lots;

For economic development, the town would support, whenever possible, joint economic development initiatives with the County of Stettler and other municipalities in the region.

The town should consider the development of a tourism marketing plan to co-ordinate marketing efforts, both public and private, to attract more tourists and increase the length of their stay.

The plan also encourages the town to develop and maintain a registry of local businesses and services in order to identify and then actively seek to fill gaps.

To support local schools, the town would endeavour to co-operate with the Clearview School Division and East Central Alberta Catholic School Division and to enter into joint-use agreements with them to share recreational facilities.