Rocky View County and the City of Calgary have agreed to work together to develop a new industrial corridor along Calgary’s southeast boundary on lands formerly designated for development within the county’s Shepard Industrial Area Plan.
Rocky View had been working towards developing a new industrial zone in the area prior to Calgary’s proposed annexation of the lands in 2021. RVC had already conducted a public hearing on a proposed Area Structural Plan (ASP) and had paid for a traffic impact assessment, an environmental screening report, and a servicing study. County staff had also put in hours of planning on the ASP prior to the Calgary’s annexation proposal.
It appears a lot of that work will not have to be duplicated after a joint city-county annexation negotiation committee announced Jan. 16 that the two municipalities would work together to develop the area in and around Shepard as a new industrial corridor.
According to Rocky View Mayor and Division 3 Councillor Crystal Kissel, this new framework for an industrial corridor will benefit both municipalities in the long term.
“We want to ensure that we seize the opportunity and maintain the region’s position as a significant inland port,” Kissel told the Rocky View Weekly. “Any economic development within the region will benefit residents and businesses across municipal boundaries by growing the economy.”
Kissel said the ins and outs of the agreement still have to be worked out when asked if the agreement means the city and the county would be co-investing in and co-developing the lands together.
“We’re in the early stages so I can’t answer specifics at this time – I will trust the process,” she said. “There is goodwill on both sides and a desire to embrace innovative solutions. We are stronger together, and a collaborative approach to economic development is in both of our best interests.”
Kissel hoped the agreement on the industrial corridor would create a new template for other fruitful collaborations between city and Rocky View in the future as both municipalities continue to experience strong growth and development.
“I believe this process will show how we can work together to grow the economy and embrace creative partnerships that benefit everyone,” she said. “Our ability to work collaboratively with our neighbours will be mutually beneficial for the region, and I am confident that the success of this initiative could be just the beginning of further collaboration in other areas of mutual interest.”
In a statement released to the media, Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek applauded the work of the annexation negotiation committee for establishing the groundwork for a mutually beneficial agreement.
“It has been encouraging to see councillors from Calgary and Rocky View County demonstrate an interest in collaboration that increases regional efficiency and attracts greater investment,” Gondek said.
According to county planning documents, the area covered by the Shepard Industrial Area Structure Plan area totals approximately 1,847 acres north of the CP Rail mainline right-of-way and south of the abandoned rail right-of-way that exists approximately a half mile north of Township Road 232.
A portion of the area lies within the City of Calgary/Rocky View County Intermunicipal Development Plan area, designated in 2012 as a “growth corridor.”
Together with the area Calgary proposed for annexation, the Shepard industrial area totals 4,173 acres.