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Tag: Gary Cleland

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Pincher Creek council to host housing developer

The Town of Pincher Creek will invite representatives from a company that manages small-town housing projects to council’s next community housing committee meeting.

Council unanimously voted to extend the invitation following a motion by Coun. Sahra Nodge, April 11.

Nodge, who sits on the housing committee with Couns. Gary Cleland and Wayne Oliver, had taken in a project pitch by AND Villages at a recent convention of AlbertaSouthwest, a regional economic development alliance of 15 area municipalities, including the town and neighbouring MD and Crowsnest Pass.

AND hopes to partner with 12 municipalities on an overarching project to put up manufactured homes in each participating community. The homes would be installed in identical 12-unit blocks. 

The company’s pitch calls on municipalities to sign over one-acre land parcels serviced by underground utilities, while AND would manage the project. The company wants to hear from interested partners by the end of the month, Nodge said. 

 

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Council’s resolution directs staff to invite AND to give a 20-minute presentation, likely via Zoom, when the housing committee meets April 27. It doesn’t amount to a commitment of any kind. 

“I think we should at least listen to their presentation,” Mayor Don Anderberg said, drawing murmurs of agreement from councillors. 

Chief administrative officer Angie Lucas meanwhile advised that AND’s pitch leaves “a lot of unanswered questions” for the town’s administration. Serviced land parcels might be hard to come by, and any land used for housing development would have to be properly zoned, she noted. 

There were 70 units on Pincher Creek’s rental market as of 2017, down from 73 the year before, according to a 2018 housing-needs assessment by the Alberta Rural Development Network. 

Most homes in the town of Pincher Creek and village of Cowley were 38 years or older, while the majority of homes in the MD were 28 and older, the assessment found. 

 

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Borrowing bylaw for curling rink passes first hurdle

Pincher Creek town council narrowly approved first reading of a $4-million borrowing bylaw to pay for a new curling rink at the Community Recreation Centre at 948 Hyde St. Council then unanimously voted to expand the project in hopes of qualifying for a federal Green and Inclusive Community Buildings grant for up to 60 per cent of the build. 

A second grant could deliver up to $1 million in construction costs, while council has already set aside $1.25 million in its 2023 capital budget.

Council greenlit the new curling rink through a contentious 4-3 split Feb. 13, with councillors voting along the same lines when the borrowing bylaw was put to the test Feb. 27. 

 

 

Coun. Mark Barber tabled the borrowing bylaw at chambers, stressing that grant funding and a hoped-for contribution by the MD of Pincher Creek would offset the rink’s $4-million price tag.

Both councils discussed a potential contribution by the MD at a closed meeting last month, but MD council hasn’t decided anything, Reeve Rick Lemire told Shootin’ the Breeze last Thursday. 

“We’re keeping our options open at this point,” he said. 

Mayor Don Anderberg and Couns. Gary Cleland and Wayne Oliver supported Barber’s motion, with Couns. David Green, Sahra Nodge and Brian Wright voting against. 

 

Table setting of wedding venue — the Cowley Lions Campground Stockade near Pincher Creek in southwestern Alberta.

 

Barber and Anderberg cited the town and MD’s joint master recreation plan, which ranked a new curling rink as a third-tier priority in March 2021, based on a survey of around 630 residents. 

The curling club and its estimated 150 members hope to donate $200,000 toward the project, plus an ice plant that Barber said was worth $500,000. 

Anderberg said council has funded new walking trails and has started to address upgrades to the Memorial Community Centre arena at 867 Main St., which survey respondents listed as first- and second-tier priorities.

The mayor’s comment drew jeers from residents in attendance, to which Anderberg replied, “I believe the survey was accurate and that it was done for a purpose.” 

 

 

“I would say we’re aggressively pursuing grant money, and all indications are that there would not be a need to borrow the entire [$4 million] amount,” Coun. Oliver said. 

Coun. Nodge was the first to speak against the motion, reminding council that the project remains largely unfunded, and warning that residents might have to support a heavy debt load through higher taxes. 

Nodge also highlighted the town’s 2022 master infrastructure report by the engineering firm ISL, a planning document that recommends roughly $13 million worth of sidewalk, storm sewer and other upgrades as part of a 10-year capital plan. 

Acknowledging strong support for the curling rink among some portions of the community, Nodge insisted that council hasn’t hadn’t done its homework ahead of the project. 

 

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“If this goes ahead, which it probably will, and somebody asks, ‘What are the implications for this on taxpayers for the Town of Pincher Creek?’ I don’t have an answer other than my own speculation, and that worries me.” 

Noting the town’s acute, chronic housing crunch, Coun. Green reminded council that the community and the municipality have limited resources to bear across a host of civic projects. 

“Consequently, a plan for priority spending should be developed in conjunction with the current council’s strategic priorities from 2022 through 2026, which will help eliminate any reactive or misaligned development decisions,” Green said. 

Council then unanimously voted to add a bouldering wall and an exhibition space to the Community Recreation Centre. The additions strengthen the town’s chances of receiving the GIBC grant by making the facility more accessible, according to the grant’s funding criteria. 

 

 

The grant requires a carbon net-zero build, which would add about 30 per cent to projected construction costs, according to Tristan Walker, municipal energy project lead for the town and MD. 

Walker said the additions would ultimately save money because the grant would cover up to 60 per cent of total construction costs — if council receives the grant. 

The recreation centre currently runs year-round, and project supporters say the new amenities would offer a more robust selection of activities.

The borrowing bylaw must be put to a public hearing and two more readings at chambers, according to the Municipal Government Act. 

If passed, opponents would have 30 days to challenge the borrowing bylaw, according to finance director Wendy Catonio.

 

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