During its meeting earlier this week, Lacombe City council voted to accept Lacombe’s new Municipal Sustainability Plan as information rather than adopt and proceed with enacting the plan citing.
The plan, entitled ‘Imagine Lacombe’, was explained by Planner Jen Kirchner as a document that “Represents the goals and visions, as identified by the community, for Lacombe as objectives to work forward to.”
Kirchner added the plan also outlines the steps needed to be taken in order to achieve those objectives.
However, not all councillors were in agreement with those recommendations or how they were defined in the plan.
Councillor Peter Bouwsema expressed his concern that some items in the plan were extremely specific and inquired as to why that was. Kirchner said the plan is specific by choice in order to measure the success of the plan and clearly define the steps that need to be taken.
Bouwsema also said that he did not want to scare developers and builders away by making too high or too specific of demands on them. He added that, some requirements of the plan would not be achievable in certain areas.
Mayor Steve Christie said that should the plan make a recommendation that is not possible in an area, developers would not be required to meet it. He added this is already being done in Lacombe, saying that the City encourages developers to connect neighbourhoods through walking trails but does not demand it of them.
Councillor Reuben Konnik said that he likes the aspirations laid out in the plan and that he thinks Lacombe should set high goals for itself.
“Why don’t we shoot for the moon?” said Konnik.
Councillor Wayne Armishaw, who was part of the committee that helped make the plan, said he agreed that the plan was “Optimistic, utopian and idealistic.” He added it was a good document but he said it was in need of amendments as he saw a disconnect between the demands of the plan and current policies.
Chief Administrative Officer Norma MacQuarrie said the plan contains high aspirations because that is what the administration wants for the City of Lacombe.
“We want Lacombe to be everything it can be. We don’t want to aspire to anything less than this. If we do, we are failing in terms of where we want Lacombe to go in the future.”
Councillor Grant Harder said that, while he agreed the plan has great goals Lacombe should aspire to, he was not sure those goals were achievable the way they were laid out in the plan.
“It kind of makes me feel like we are setting ourselves up for failure,” said Harder.
Councillor Bill McQuesten was the one to move that council accept the document only as information. He said that he too had misgivings about the plan and more discussion and work with the document was needed. “There are things in here that are just not realistic,” said McQuesten.
Council voted 5-2 in favour of McQuesten’s motion with Konnik and Christie voting against.