The Cochrane Municipal Planning Commission will continue to deliberate over development applications, and not relinquish that authority on a temporary basis.

Council voted down the proposal to have that authority given to the town development officer until the end of June, but did adjust the referral/circulation period to speed up applications.

Council believed the planning commission has the ability to meet remotely, and there's no just cause to set them aside. 

Councillor Susan Flowers said she was uncomfortable with removing the commission's authority, even on a temporary basis.

"I think the committee was there to exercise the powers and duties on behalf of the community and suddenly we're just taking it away," said Flowers.

"I think we are trying to promote a culture of engagement, responsibility, and accountability. I would hate to see us suddenly take that away when we could have done these meetings online or tried to push them and get things done quicker."

The commission has not met since measures were incorporated in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

So to speed up the approval process during the pandemic, it was proposed the town development officers make decisions on applications, in addition to reducing the 30-day circulation requirement. 

It was made with the intention of keeping development moving in Cochrane and keep people working.

Mayor Jeff Genung said it was not meant as a slight to members of the planning commission.

Riley Welden, acting development and community services general manager, told council there are 11 applications currently requiring decision.

The commission may hold extra meetings to play catchup.