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Rocky View County council briefs: May 10

Rocky View County councillors approved expansion of Harmony Beef facility, speed limit change, and redesignation application for electric vehicle charging, solar farm, or data processing plant at the public hearings on May 10.
Rocky View County council discussed a myriad of topics at their most recent meeting.

Rocky View County (RVC) council met on May 10 to review various reports and items. Here is a recap of some of the topics that were up for discussion.

Harmony Beef expansion

The first general business item addressed an expansion proposal of the Harmony Beef meat production plant in east Balzac.

Council approved various building and site improvements at the Harmony Beef slaughterhouse, despite administration’s recommendation to remove an ancillary parking lot from the application.

As the development authority, council is responsible for deciding on development permits for the facility and accessory uses required for operating the facility. 

While the application aligns with County policy to accommodate general industry uses within the High Plains Industrial Business Park, the proposed staff and visitor parking lot would be located outside of the identified boundary area. Administration suggested relocating the parking lot to fit within the properly zoned boundary or be removed. 

The parking lot proposal would require a land use application for consideration, according to Jacqueline Targett, of planning and development services, but the applicant requested it be included in the current application.

During the meeting, the applicant shared they currently have adequate parking but a new lot would increase safety for their employees.

“For the safety of our people we want people to park on the other property so they can come in and out of the plant,” he said, adding they currently have to cross truck traffic to access the parking lot.

Other projects within the application are necessary to start expanding the operation.

“People ask me, ‘At your age, why are you still doing this?’ It’s because I have a passion for it. People who know me here know that I started this process almost 12 years ago now and I spent a considerable amount of money and we turned [around] a plant that was destined for teardown,” the applicant said. 

Council approved the parking lot alongside the rest of the application, with a condition to have the company come back with boundary adjustments.

The construction includes a break line addition and loading area relocation, construction of an accessory building for a guard shack and relaxation of the minimum side yard setback requirement, construction of over-height fencing, multi-lot regrading and placement of clean fill for site improvements, and the construction of an access road and parking lot.

Coun. Greg Boehlke stated Harmony Beef has been a great employer in the county and the expansion provides an opportunity to add more employees and create jobs in the region.

Speed Limit Change

RVC council agreed to support a proposed speed limit change along Highway 1 at the intersections of Conrich Road and Rainbow Road from 110 kilometres an hour (km/h) to 80 km/h to enhance the safety of traffic operations.

Due to this section of Highway 1, which lies between Calgary and Chestermere, experiencing severe accidents in the past, Alberta Transportation reviewed and recommended the speed limit reduction.

The change is part of Alberta Transportation’s first phase of a two-phase safety enhancement initiative. The signalization of the at-grade intersections will later be considered as phase two enhancements when they are required by development. The cost of the traffic signals and any geometric improvements related to phase two would fall on the municipality or developer.

Work and costs associated with the implementation of the current speed limit change are the responsibility of Alberta Transportation. 

Alberta Transportation will inform the public of the changes via advertising and signage, according to RVC administration.

RVC Mayor Don Kochan pointed out the section of Highway 1 moves from 90 km/h near Stoney Trail, to 70 km/h, then the new limit of 80 km/h, and finally 110 km/h in a relatively short distance. Administration assured council these speed limits are vetted through Alberta Transportation’s guidelines and are recommended by them.

Electric Vehicle Charging Station

A section of land near Crossfield is being designated for future development of a solar farm, electric vehicle recharging station, or data processing facility.

While no current development plans for the area were noted at the meeting, council gave first reading for the redesignation of the land.

The parcel is located directly north of the Highline Mushrooms facility, on the southeast junction of Highway 2 and Highway 72 and approximately 3.2 kilometres southeast of Crossfield.

Roughly 36.6 hectares were designated for this development, which was previously designated as agricultural land.