Buffalo Lake resort delayed after neighbouring municipalities file objections

The proposed Paradise Shores RV Resort along Buffalo Lake is stalled after the Summer Villages of White Sands and Rochon Sands challenged the development.
The villages filed their objections with Stettler County earlier this month meaning the county can’t give second reading to two bylaws that would pave the way for the development until the end of the dispute process.
“Now that the municipalities have disputed this we can’t give second reading for at least 60 days,” Johan van der Bank, Stettler County Director of Planning and Development, told council during their regular meeting March 14.
The villages maintain the development is a subdivision rather than an RV resort.
If the Chief Administrative Officers (CAO) of the three member municipalities of the Buffalo Lake South Shore Intermunicipal Development Plan (BLSSIDP) can’t reach an agreement, then the issue will be dealt with at the committee level of the BLSSIDP.
If no resolution is reached through the BLSSIDP after the required 60 days, van der Bank said Stettler County “has the right to say this is over” and can give the bylaws second and third reading.
“Once we do that they can file an appeal with the (Alberta) Municipal Government Board. They have 30 days to file.”
He added this appeal process with the provincial government could takes months.
Both Lacombe and Camrose Counties submitted letters of concern about the project to Stettler County. They assert the proposed RV campground doesn’t comply with the environmental requirements of the Buffalo Lake Intermunicipal Development Plan (BLIDP), which says changes in land use or developments should avoid important wildlife habitat and environmentally sensitive areas.
If that’s not possible then every effort should be made to minimize or mitigate impacts to these areas by the governing municipality (Stettler County) and Alberta Environment.
The three counties and two summer villages all border Buffalo Lake but neither Lacombe or Camrose County can file formal objections because the proposed project is in the south shore growth node of Buffalo Lake, which falls under the BLSSIDP.
The only member municipalities of the BLSSIDP are Stettler County and the Villages of Rochon and White Sands.
Lacombe and Camrose County take issue with the developer not completing requirements of the Environmental Review because the environmental studies so far only cover Phase 1 but asks for approval for all three phases of the project.
Both counties want Stettler County to either delay second reading of the two bylaws to redesignate the land from agricultural to recreational until an environmental review is done, or only approve the environmental study for Phase 1 of the project.
This isn’t the only opposition to the project. A grassroots group of Buffalo Lake area residents led by Darrell Hicke of Calgary, who spends summers at Buffalo Lake, started an online petition in February and have more than 1,000 signatures.

Lisa Joy
ECA Review

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