New municipal development plan passes final reading

·2 min read

The municipal development plan for the MD of Pincher Creek has undergone its third and final reading, bringing all new changes into effect.

The plan, known as Bylaw 1330-21, replaces its predecessor, Bylaw 1062-02. MD council announced the news at its Oct. 12 meeting.

“I really feel good that this be the last thing on this term of council, because I just really appreciate all the time and effort that has gone into this document,” said Coun. Quentin Stevick.

“I feel good leaving, knowing that this document is now approved and passed.”

Council made some final changes to the document — mostly in the natural resource category, Section 9 — that would impact resource extraction, particularly mining.

Policy 9.4 was altered to ensure that areas located between natural resource extraction zones and adjacent land are subject to berming in addition to buffering and screening, while Policy 9.5 requires that resource extraction operations adhere to the requirements of the municipality, not just the province.

Policy 9.6 makes it more difficult for companies and industries to get around regulations protecting the MD’s historical, environmental, natural, archeological and cultural sites by mandating compliance with federal and provincial government rules as opposed to only requiring government consultation on the matter.

Objective 4 was also changed to guarantee that extraction agencies protect water quantity, not just quality, while undertaking projects.

Additional updates were made to Policy 17.3 under the category of “Environment and its Natural Capital,” to formally recognize a few scientific research papers and documents with relevance to resource development in the area, including a study on environmentally significant areas near Oldman River and another on areas in Alberta.

Broader categories of information, like environmental site assessment documents and data from the provincial government, were also added to this list.

Changes to wind and solar energy policy have not changed since the MDP’s second reading.

Restrictions requiring facilities to auto-dim lights at night and maintain a distance of 4,000 metres from Pincher Creek and Cowley airports remain in place, as does the section that encourages individual case-by-case consideration of new wind energy developments.

Gillian Francis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze

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