Not all councillors agree that freezing development is the best option for Cochrane to take.
Councillor Ross Watson, shared his thoughts on the July 11, Notice of Motion, put fourth by Councillor Morgan Nagel. The Motion is looking for Mayor and Council support in freezing development until Cochrane has solutions in place for traffic flow.
Watson believes the freeze won't help.
"I believe it will confuse the issues. The real issues are the Province needs to come up with 1A, the other issue is that we are working with the developer on the south side of the river to build a bridge and build the subsequent infrastructure like James Walker Trail on that side of the bridge. Halting the residential growth, I believe won't solve the problems."
Traffic for Cochrane is an issue, adds Watson, but the problem is not caused by local Cochranites. Watson says the additional volume comes from drivers who are using Cochrane as a bypass.
"The residential growth in Cochrane would never cause these problems. We keep these in the forefront of our minds when we go to the the Province- you have created a problem that is affecting our residents and we're expecting a solution."
Whether we freeze development or not, Watson says the intersection of 1A and 22 is beyond our control.
"The 1A and the 22 is out of our control, the bridge is within our control. The fastest relief that we can achieve is the bridge. The bridge will help the people of Cochrane; people going through Cochrane may still suffer some frustrations but the bridge will help us immediately.
Watson says chatting among community members has started regarding the status of the bridge and Cochrane's financial viability.
"The bridge project is on track, and a go for 2019. We feel confident about it and it is a priority. We do have a reserve fund that we use to fund assets and replacements and that is solid and healthy. Our borrowing program for the infrastructure we are putting in, which includes the bridge, is laid out in our 10 year financial plan."
While construction of the bridge has been a topic since the late 90s, Watson says, the project was based on need vs desire.
"The second bridge was always scheduled when there was sufficient build out on the south side of the river for us (Town of Cochrane) to be able to build a bridge, and we have reached hat point."
Watson, feels some of Nagel's comments regarding bridge status and Cochrane's financial future were bold.
"They resound with people. People now are very conscious of money and tax increases. It resonates and I am of the opinion there is no need for alarm. We've forecasted well and we are well financed."
Halting growth in the end could be much more detrimental than we think.
"Stopping growth, quite frankly, I believe will be harmful for the town and would put no pressure on the Province. If they believe we are taking care of the problem by closing our doors. I don't think we are sending them the right message."