By Cole Parkinson
After previous discussions around the Town of Vauxhall’s Municipal Development Plan, an open meeting was held to gauge community opinions.
Held before council’s regular meeting on September 17, a delegation from Oldman River Regional Services Commission (ORRSC) presented the plan to council and one person was in attendance for the meeting representing the Vauxhall and District Chamber of Commerce.
The role of the MDP is to serve as a long-range planning tool, guiding growth and development.
It also establishes overall policy direction for land use decisions and other planning documents throughout its goals, policies and overarching community vision.
“This discussion here before your council meeting is not a requirement, this is something we thought we would do to, hopefully, get some public input,” said Ian MacDougall, a member of the planning staff with ORRSC.
Last time the MDP was discussed was at council’s regular meeting held on June 19 and council elected to host an open meeting for the public to attend.
The weeks in between also allowed the two newer councillors, Ray Coad and Jake Wiebe, a chance to catch up in terms of familiarity of the document.
The 30-page document, which was first drafted in February of this year with the helped of ORRSC senior planner Bonnie Brunner, has seen a few minor changes over the time since the last meeting though it still hits on all the major points.
“The Municipal Development Plan, what it is, is a policy document. What it is, is to give some guidance to the future, either development or re-development in the town. It differs from the bylaw in the sense the bylaw is an enforceable document. There are different requirements in the bylaw that states you have to do certain things. If you don’t do those things, the municipality can take certain action to bring you into compliance. This document is more or less talking about issues, talking about the future, how you’d like to see the town and try to give some guidance on how to get to those goals,” added MacDougall. “There are some requirements when you do prepare one of these plans, there are certain things we have to incorporate or discuss. The two main ones are transportation and future land development and we’ve discussed both of those in the plan.”
Since the last time council looked at the MDP, the small changes made to the document were around spelling errors, grammatical errors and deleting or adding additional words.
The plan states ‘the Town of Vauxhall has a sizeable amount of vacant land with future development. As part of the development, the future roads will form the basic linear structure framework that the land uses are fashioned around.’
For future development in the town, the plan highlights the need to formulate a strategy to promote and encourage growth within Vauxhall in both residential and non-residential.
In the plan, six opportunity areas, land with potential for development, in the town are listed.
Two are recommended for industrial uses, three are listed is residential and the final is listed as commercial/residential.
Next steps for the town is to hold a public hearing to allow community members to speak on the plan on the record which council elected to bring back October 16.