Yesterday, Town council instructed the Drumheller Resiliency and Flood Mitigation Office to prepare statutory documents for an updated Municipal Development Plan (MDP) and Land Use Bylaw (LUB) for further consideration by council.
For Drumheller to truly change the channel on flood readiness, it must understand the impacts of flood mitigation on our most visionary documents – the MDP and LUB. These documents lay the foundation on how we as a community can adapt to the future.
Making room for the river is the focus area of a new revised MDP. The river is what connects our neighbourhoods throughout the valley and can act as a destination and set the stage of unscripted adventures.
Chief Resiliency and Flood Mitigation Officer Darwin Durnie commented during his council presentation “while we know the river can be a threat to our community, for the majority of time it’s an amenity and an economic driver to inspire investment. Our hope is these revised documents will enable development and not control or restrict development.”
The Drumheller Resiliency and Flood Mitigation Office will continue to work with their consultant O2 Planning & Design to complete the required documents and prepare for the first reading of a bylaw in October.
A public engagement schedule will be released in the next few days, so residents can learn how to provide input into the preparation of the Municipal Development Plan and Land Use Bylaw.
The MDP is the overall community plan for the Town. It provide high level guidance, goals and policy; and it directs several subsidiary plans such as Transportation Master Plans and Recreation Master Plans. Read more.
The LUB implements the MDP’s goals, and provides detailed regulations on how buildings can be built and what uses are allowed in specific areas. The LUB is much more prescriptive than the MDP. Read more.
Both the MDP and LUB are statutory documents under the Municipal Government Act, and are the primary guides that shape the development of the Town of Drumheller.
First and foremost the MDP needs to place the river system at the heart of the Plan to address river risk and Valley-wide vision. We have recommended modernizing the MDP to address four key Valley-wide conditions:
- The Rivers – flood risk and opportunity
- The Badlands – the immersive Valley experience (“secret sauce”).
- Growth Areas – smart and attractive development opportunities
- Neighbourhoods – build on the unique neighbourhood identities throughout the Valley.
The current LUB is too complicated and yet not specific enough. We are recommending reducing the current 21 districts to 8 form based districts, allowing more flexibility and creative investment and development.
We are also recommending to lighten the document by reducing unnecessary documentation and burdensome requirements. Removing parking minimums is an example of removing constraints.
Overlays create special zoning districts placed over existing base zones to protect a specific resource to guide development within a special area. These overlays will allow flexibility, agility and adaptability. We have recommended four overlays to work with the eight land use districts:
- Resilient rivers
- Unique Neighbourhoods
- Future Growth
A modernized MDP and LUB will enable development, not restrict development. The successful integration of these initiatives will see decreased vulnerability and exposure areas, increased economic activity, increased conveyance (river) capacity, improved climate adaption, and increased staff capacity to respond to future emergencies.