Municipality gears up as year-end vastly approaches

By VERNA MURPHY, Connect Contributor

What will the new NDP development at Willow Square include? No plans have been revealed yet for the complex that will open in 4 years.  SUPPLIED PHOTO

What will the new NDP development at Willow Square include? No plans have been revealed yet for the complex that will open in 4 years. SUPPLIED PHOTO

The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo has been busy. On November 18, both a council meeting and a Land Planning and Transportation meeting were held.

Several items on the Land Planning agenda were suggested to be brought to council for further discussion – with one issue regarding the safety of residential streets, and another regarding the Fly In/Fly Out debate.

It was discussed on how industry could make Fort McMurray a hub for its employees, as well as, how they could make the city their home. It was said during the meeting that with the downturn in the economy it is important to lobby industry and the government on this issue. Council will further discuss.

On the same night, a long agenda had council around the table for another lengthy meeting. In the coming weeks, there will be public presentations on changes that may be made on different projected projects in the area.

All of these items can be found on the municipality website at A public hearing for the change in the Wood Buffalo Land Use Bylaw will be held December 8, during the council meeting at 6 p.m.

When the public hearings happen during council, delegates will have five minutes to talk about whatever issue they are interested in.

If the changes in the Land Use Bylaw for Keyano College are changed, the campus could see additional food and beverage places, commercial space and potential 12-storey buildings.

Also on November 19, a public information session was held at the Syncrude Sports and Wellness Centre about the Draper Area Structural Plan. The full presentation is available on the municipality’s website. The 40 page document goes in-depth on improvements to roads, sewer and water, as well as, how the land will be protected and possibly developed.

On Tuesday, November 24, it was shared that due to the recent death of Councillor John Chadi a by-election will be held in Fort Chipewyan since there is more than 18 months left on his term. Due to the holidays, the nomination day will not be until January 11, and the Election Day will be February 8, 2016. Julia Cardinal is currently the other sitting councillor for Ward 2.

In the upcoming weeks before the Christmas break, council will also be voting on the final budget document on December 8. And the downtown development committee will have until 2016 to make their suggestions to council on what their suggestions are for development in the downtown core.

Lastly this week, the municipality was happy to hear the new NDP government had announced the development will move ahead with the long-waited seniors’ development at Willow Square. As of press time, there have been no plans revealed, but Sarah Hoffman, the Minister of Health has said that it will take four years before the doors will be open to the community.

This comes after local MLAs Brian Jean and Tany Yao called on the NDP to shelf the Parson’s Creek development and finally make the downtown development a reality for the local seniors who have waited for it for ten years.

The province has put $11 million into the Parson’s Creek development and in their statement they said they hoped to find alternative uses for the land.

– Connect Weekly –