Despite objections by Rocky View County (RVC) county services, councillor Eric Lowther successfully pushed for changes in population densities in two sections of the Glenbow Ranch Area Structure Plan (ASP) and believes it will make the plan more palatable to the area's residents.

During the second reading of the bylaw on June 27, Lowther called for reductions in the density in Cell I to 2.0 units per acre (UPA) from 2.5 UFA and to 1.0 UPA from 3.0 in Cell J. In part, he argued if having a lower population density on the Cochrane boundary was acceptable, then it should be in areas close to Calgary.

Lowther also argued to remove a penciled-in connector from from Cell J to the Bearspaw Village Road, something that had been sought by the village residents during the public hearing. This roadway, however, may prove to be a useful connector at some point and may be given further consideration in the future by the county.

Planning services did not recommended the changes that were sought after the bylaw received first reading on June 14. The review states the reduced density will negatively impact the feasibility of successfully implementing of the plan, believing it will reduce the number of housing options available, increase infrastructure costs, reduce cash flow to the county and might result in less participation in the transfer of development credits.

Lowther, though, did not agree.

"I don't think it's a show stopper," said Lowther. "It's not a fragile plan."

Lowther fended off what he viewed as administration's firm annotation that the public hearing should be reopened in light of the changes.

"I don't agree with that position and I hope I can convinced the rest of council that there is really no risk here. Nothing I shared with you today is outside of what we heard in the public hearing."

Lowther's position that the vast majority of area resident's agreement with the plan was questioned by division 2 councillor Jerry Arshinoff.

"That's not what was said at the public hearing," said Arshinoff. "The public didn't say they accept the plan and like the plan. That's simply not true. The public said that if we reduce the UPA in those two areas it goes from 100 per cent bad to 99 per cent bad. There's the option of not accepting it at all, making it zero per cent bad."

Rocky View Forward, a grassroots watchdog group, agree with Arshinoff's position.

"Contrary to Lowther’s assertion, people in Division 8 are not generally supportive of the overall plan laid out in GRASP," states Rocky View Forward in their report on the decision. "There are many residents who live in long-established country residential communities immediately adjacent to the proposed high-density development in Cell J who will be severely impacted if this part of GRASP goes ahead as proposed."

An attempt by Arshinoff to open to floor to the public was defeated. Councillor Liz Breakey also started to assemble an amendment to change the UPA in area J to 2.0 from 1.0 to discourage Calgary from possibly launching an objection but did not proceed.

The amendment bylaw returns for consideration by county council on July 25.