Rocky View County (RVC) has identified several areas of concern with the Springbank Off-stream Reservoir (SR1) draft land-use plan following an internal review and public consultation.

RVC senior planner Devin LaFleche presented details on the letter of response to county council on Mar. 26 that will be submitted to the province by the Mar. 29 deadline.

SR1 land-use

County officials believe the land-use plan needs clearer policies allowing for the greatest amount of safe public access, especially across the pathway on the dam structure (i.e. berm) during low-risk flood periods. It also seeks clarification on public access to the dam structure pathways during the following closure scenarios during the annual flood season (May 1 - July 31) when forecasts are low-risk; and reclamation post flood (minimum of two years post flood) when public access does not interfere with land reclamation.

Although outside of SR1 lands, it seeks further clarity on the road and pathway connections into SR1, including a north connection into SR1 lands, which ideally would be off RR 35; a safe active transportation corridor from the southwest pathway connection across Hwy. 22 and connecting toward Bragg Creek; and parking location and design details that provide community access without creating a major tourist destination.

Also outside of the SR1 land, it recommends retaining the “South Lands” as public Crown Lands, which would provide the community with public access to the Elbow River.

It wants to see the Kamp Kiwanis lands retained as Crown lands due to their environmental value and exploring opportunities for regional active transportation networks, and public infrastructure, such as parking lots, staging areas, camping, and other public access.

It also seeks the consideration of seasonal grazing permits as the primary method for vegetation control.

It also has requested to be involved with the operation plans and ongoing monitoring and adaptive management of SR1.

Besides a full internal review, county planners met with several organization and stakeholders to discuss the draft plan.

In addition, a total of 45 people attended two coffee chats, where physical copies of the draft were made available and they could provide their feedback to the online surveys of the county and province. Another 75 people responded to an RVC online survey.

Three common responses were received to a final question on the RVC survey asking for additional comments. Concern was expressed over hunting being permitted, especially with high-powered firearms permitted through treaty rights; the lack of policy support for horseback riding in the dry reservoir area; and environmental impacts resulting from public access and the SR1 operations

LaFleche says overall, there was strong support for the areas of concern statements in the online survey with 88 to 99 of respondents agreeing or strongly agreeing.