Cranbrook eyes lands for future growth

Staff report outlines 8,000 hectares of land that could be included for future boundary expansion

The City of Cranbrook is eyeing rural lands for future growth which cover areas including 1,738 rural properties and 8,167 hectares that could eventually be brought into the municipal fold.

The growth strategy plan is set to be unveiled at an upcoming city council meeting on July 16.

The document, prepared by city staff, identifies areas for future growth and consideration of muncipal boundary expansions that include Gold Creek, Jim Smith, city owned lands around Philips Reservoir, King Street, New Lake, West Hill, and areas north of the city.

Councillor Wes Graham said staff have been looking at areas suitable for expansion after some residents on the border of the city asked for municipal sewer and water services to their properties.

“I think what the intended outcome of the [planning] process was to look at areas around the borders of Cranbrook that have density,” said Graham, “and if there’s ever an opporutnity for boundary expansion — these are areas we would look at rather than just providing more sprawl bare land building.

“We were looking at ways there might be some synergies between rural areas and the city…that would be good for both parties.”

The city report says elector assent process, such as a referendum or Alternative Approval Process, will be required to bring any proposed areas into the city fold.

The report features a map that identifies a total of 11,329 hectares, along with a road network of 320 kilometres, that could be included within proposed boundary expansion areas.

According to the city report, the rationale for expansion includes themes such as consistent and long term land use planning, increased development opportunities, streamlining jurisdictional control, and expanding local decision making by keeping property tax dollars in the community.

That same report also says benefits of the expansion will include new settlement growth areas, additional development and business potential, and long term and contiguous land use planning for city growth.

The report says council must study key consideration that will be brought back to chambers in the future, some of which include changes to City of Cranbrook service delivery, such as Public Works operations as well as revenues and finances.

Other considerations include changes to Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) fire protection services, First Nations interests, and a referendum or Alternative Approval Process.

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