Cochrane Mayor Jeff Genung compares the challenge of completing the region plans of the Calgary Metropolitan Region Board (CMRB) with what it takes to overcome a NHL hockey lockout.
The bottom line is you need to set deadlines to get things done, even if they have to be extended slightly.
The Calgary Metropolitan Region Board (CMRB) did get its 11th-hour wish for three more months to finalize its work. It now has until June 1, 2021.
Last Thursday, Municipal Affairs minister Rick McIver approved the extension.
"He did say in his letter that he'd like to see us get this done, and it was good work that needs to be completed, and that he values the contributions everyone is making throughout the region," says Genung, who is vice-chair of the CMRB board. "That was a welcomed letter."
Previous to this, Genung says the board was working under the assumption the extension would be granted.
Yet this isn't the occasion for a celebratory bottle of bubbly. A bumpy road lies ahead to refine the plan while attempting to come to terms with three disgruntled municipal counties.
Time ran out at the board's Feb. 26 meeting before it could discuss a motion of Foothill County for all 10 municipalities forming the CMRB to calculate their in-kind contributions provided from January 1, 2020 to January 31, 2021. That discussion will now be part of a Mar. 4 meeting.
Both Rocky View County and Wheatland County agree with Foothills on the need to calculate costs. The counties continue to insist a regional board is both redundant and highly expensive. They argue hundreds of inter-municipal agreements are already in place, most of them dealing with development, and it's working just fine.
At its Feb. 23 meeting, RVC council rejected the draft of the regional growth plan, presented by consultant HDR Calthorpe on Feb. 2, although since then there has been a revised edition.
It expressed concern over a significant outstanding portion of the growth plan and says none of the work on the regional growth and servicing plans, nor the regional evaluation framework, has been satisfactorily completed.
The county estimates it has contributed over $250,000 worth of staff and elected officials’ time over the past 13 months towards this project, over and above contributions since the inception of the CMRB. It also wants the board to review the draft submissions under the lens of the provincial mandate of Red Tape Reduction and other provincial economic strategies.
Genung maintains there is merit in working together for the betterment of the entire region.
"We have to stop looking at it as another layer of government or a roadblock or constraint or control mechanism," he said previously. "We have to start to trust one another, that we want what's best for all of us collectively."
To help meet the June 1 deadline, Mayor Genung says two more board meetings have been added. It also hopes to resolve some of the outstanding issues through a visioning session during the Mar. 4 board meeting.
A previously unscheduled third phase of public engagement will be launched on Mar. 15, based upon the current draft of the plan.