Nearly one year into their council term, Morgan Nagel and Patrick Wilson have both stuck to their commitment to slow development until infrastructure catches up but it wasn't enough last night to overcome four town councillors who want to see it continue.
Council has approved land-use for phase 2 and 3 of the six-phase Rivercrest Neighbourhood. This section is largely residential with a public reserve for a small park and pathway system on its northern border. It's estimated to contain 125 single-dwelling homes when completed but has yet to go through the subdivision process.
Councillor Marni Fedeyko pinned her support for the development on the last council, saying they set the wheels in motion, not this council. She also believed the town needed the off-site levy money and if council slowed down the development at this point she was fearful the developer would simply pull the plug.
Earthmovers are already on site grooming the land completing initial work on phase one that is currently going through the subdivision process.
Mayor Jeff Genung and councillors Tara McFadden and Susan Flowers also supported the development. Genung and McFadden said saying it makes the development a complete community, even though there are three more phases that will be coming to council at some point.
McFadden, in particular, said the extra population in the River Heights, which is currently a swell of development, would help encourage commercial businesses to locate in the district, something residents have been seeking.
Mayor Genung believed infrastructure is coming along fine to support the development.
"The first home we would see potentially would be in the spring of 2020 so I think that we have an opportunity as a community to have a lot of our infrastructure in place."
He also wants it known Cochrane is open for business.
Nagel and Wilson would have no part in these rationalizations and instead gave it the thumbs down because they are concerns with infrastructure deficiencies and an over-saturated housing market (see separate story).
Infrastructure deficiencies were pointed to by the Cochrane Planning Commission (CPC) in their comments on the developments, comments that were not discussed during liberations over second and third reading.
The CPC fear this lack of infrastructure will create bottlenecks and choke points and questioned if it would cause more congestion before the new bridge over the Bow is completed.
They also believed the right-hand turning lane of James Walker Trail North into Hwy. 22 needed to be upgraded.
Three adjacent landowners were concerned with the proximity of the development to an environmental reserve and also expressed concern over the traffic impact on River Heights Drive.
According to a report presented to council by the planning department, concerns that will need to be addressed at the subdivision stage, (the next step) include an updated traffic impact assessment and the decommissioning of existing water wells.
Councillor Alex Reed was absent from the meeting.
Why Approve More Development When Market is Saturated? asks Nagel