Two views on Buffalo Lake plan

Future growth for the south shore of Buffalo Lake appears to have two different views, as indicated in discussions with property owners

The Buffalo Lake south growth planning committee includes County of Stettler Coun. Joe Gendre (left)

The Buffalo Lake south growth planning committee includes County of Stettler Coun. Joe Gendre (left)

Future growth for the south shore of Buffalo Lake appears to have two different views, as indicated in discussions with property owners during a meeting last Saturday.

Some residents opposed the proposal by the planning committee to delete one option to have no growth management as part of the growth node plan under the Buffalo Lake inter-municipal development plan with the County of Stettler, the Summer Village of Rochon Sands and the Summer Village of White Sands.

“Option 1 was the clear favourite for those in attendance at the workshop on June 28,” said David McHarg, president of Buffalo Meadows Owners’ Association.

“It was the only option supported by those that stood up and spoke.”

He noted that option wouldn’t be a burden to the county, but should actually be a positive cash flow, according to current lake residents and maintenance upkeep costs.

Scenic Sands Community Association also opposes that option, president Kath Rothwell said during the meeting, which attracted about 50 residents to the Rochon Sands Community Centre.

With potential to develop 2,377 new residential lots on the south and the summer population to grow to 4,000 people, the committee favours the two other options.

While the second option would promote small lots of one-quarter acre to half an acre, the third option would introduce the transfer of development credits (TDC) scheme, which has just arrived in Alberta but widely popular in the U.S.

Listening to comments and questions of residents, members of the committee didn’t respond specifically to those opposing positions.

With a small timeframe when residents are in the area for the summer, the committee hopes to present the plan to public hearings in each municipality by the end of August.

“We still have to come up with what is the best option,” said Rochon Sands Mayor Wayne Miller, who chairs the committee.

“We may have to delay until next spring, but we don’t want to. If we go to next spring, we may lose momentum.”

Access to the lake and improved roads were also raised by several residents as top priorities.

“More beach is important to us,” said White Sands Mayor Lorne Thurston.

“Access is needed on the lake and off the lake.”

“We need to have an independent assessment of lake access,” said Coun. Joe Gendre.

All municipalities also agree that floating docks should be controlled and regulated, and the committee proposes that a plan be drafted.