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Bragg Creek Revitilization Plan - Background

Please consult the original document to read more about the background. It is available here:
http://www.rockyview.ca/Portals/0/Files/BuildingPlanning/Planning/UnderReview/BraggCreek/Bragg-Creek-Plan-Draft-2015-12.pdf

2.1 PHYSICAL ANALYSIS

LOCATION AND PROFILE

The Hamlet Revitalization Plan study area is located approximately 30km southwest of Calgary within the West Rocky View region of Rocky View County. The site is bounded on the north by provincially owned lands, Tsuu T’ina Reserve to the east, the MD of Foothills to the south and Kananaskis Country to the west—earning it the reputation of “The Gateway to the Kananaskis”. Within a 45 minute drive to the City of Calgary, the hamlet has convenient access via Highway 22 from the north and south and Highway 758 providing a route to the Bragg Creek Provincial Park, a popular day-use area.

The study area is approximately 250.7 hectares (619.5 acres) in size and has a population of approximately 454 people. The study area includes both the Hamlet Boundary and Hamlet Expansion Boundary, as defined in the Greater Bragg Creek ASP.

LAND USE

The existing Hamlet boundary consists of 295 individual lots ranging in size from 0.1 acres to 12 acres. Only 12.2% of lots within the existing hamlet boundary come in under 0.457 acres (1850 m2). This has important implications for achieving official Hamlet status whose designation is a important qualifier for accessing a number of provincial funds. The Municipal Government Act requires that an unincorporated community may be designated a Hamlet if the majority of parcels are smaller than 0.457 acres (1850 m2).

The majority of the plan area is used for low density residential development. The other dominant land use within the plan area is hamlet commercial with most businesses located along White Avenue and Balsam Avenue —the primary roads through the hamlet. Retail is typified by a variety of business types including: small cafes and restaurants, local boutiques, artist’s galleries, office space, recreation retailers, and grocery store.

The Hamlet Expansion lands is an area of land that has been allocated as a growth area outside of the existing Hamlet to accommodate an appropriate range of residential and institutional land uses. Larger parcels sizes and agricultural / ranching uses characterize this area at the present time.

ADJACENT LAND USE

East: Immediately east of the study area is the Tsuu T’ina reserve. Highway 22 runs through this land to provide access to the hamlet, as well as linking nearby Redwood Meadows (approximately 5km north east).

South: To the south of the existing boundary and expansion lands are relatively unfragmented ranching and farming quarter sections with small pockets of residential development and Bragg Creek Provincial Park lands (accessed by Highway 758) . The Elbow Falls Area and Kananaskis Improvement District is located south of the plan area reached by Highway 66.

West: West of the Plan area are large acreage lots of a low-density character. Balsam Avenue provides the single point of egress linking these lands. West Bragg Creek trails is a popular destination drawing traffic past Balsam Avenue through to Township Road 232.

North: Directly north of the study area is a series of low density-large lot residential development accessed from the west side of Elbow River. This area also encompasses a large parcel of land protected as environmental reserve. Further north-west is the Wintergreen Resort, undergoing redevelopment to include a mix of amenities and residential lot types including an updated village
core.

TOPOGRAPHY

The majority of the existing hamlet boundary is low lying and relatively flat, with small changes in elevation. The Hamlet Expansion Lands is characterized by a steep change in elevation and includes both flat and hilly terrain. Figure 2.1 -4 details the existing contours for the Plan area. The established and most densely populated areas contains the lowest elevations and subsequently exposure to flood risk.

FLOOD HAZARD

Both the Elbow River and the Bragg Creek are subject to periodic flooding, sometimes with devastating impacts as a large portion of the hamlet lies within the 1:100 year Elbow River floodplain (see Figure 2.1-4).

A significant portion of privately owned land designated Hamlet Residential (HR-1) lies directly within the floodway. The majority of the Hamlet, including all of the Hamlet’s commercial development, lies within the flood fringe. Both of these zones were impacted greatly by the flooding of 2013 causing extensive and at its worse—irreversible damage.

Flood hazard mapping indicates the hamlet expansion lands area are clear of the flood hazard zone given its increased elevation and distance from the river.

OPEN SPACE

The Hamlet meets many of its open space needs through its proximity to several nature recreation areas and multitude of walking trails nearby. However, the Hamlet itself suffers from a complete lack of open space and undefined public realm. There are currently no central gathering spaces for events, recreation, or informal play. Much of the civic life and social opportunities that exist take place in local cafes, restaurants, or private residences. The only existing playground is somewhat hidden at the back of the Bragg Creek Community Centre.

An improved public realm is required to meet the immediate needs of residents. The Hamlet holds huge potential for new meeting spaces, amenity and play areas that connect to one of the most valued elements in Bragg Creek – the Elbow River. There exists an opportunity to embrace the power of the river as a public amenity, and future efforts should focus on strengthening this relationship.

MOVEMENT

Access & Arrival

The Hamlet is accessed via two provincial highways:
• Highway 22
• Highway 758
Highway 22 provides access from both the north
and the east, while highway 758 leads traffic from
highway 22 through the Hamlet to Bragg Creek
Provincial Park.

The alignment between highways and municipal roads within the Hamlet has resulted in an unusual and confusing 4-way stop at the intersection of Balsam Ave, Highway 22 and Highway 758 – the main entry point to the community. Traffic congestion is a regular occurrence and has become a source of frustration for residents, business owners and visitors alike. Future development and population growth will compound the problem and a comprehensive solution is needed to improve the design and function of the intersection.

Primary Streets

Balsam Avenue is the main commercial street of the Hamlet. It runs East-West and connects directly with Highway 22 and Highway 758, terminating at Balsam Ave Bridge – the single point of egress to lands West of the Elbow River. In the North-South direction, White Avenue (HWY 758), also known as Heritage Mile, is the most prominent street. White Avenue holds historical significance as the original commercial strip and although under provincial jurisdiction functions as a key municipal road. Speeding and parking are identified as concerns along White Avenue, which in turn limits the potential for the strip to become a successful pedestrian-oriented destination.

Paths & Trails

While Bragg Creek is well served by an extensive outside network of trails that connect the community to important scenic, recreational and historical locations, within the Hamlet there exists a potential for significantly enhanced pedestrian connections. At present, the paths along the two busiest streets – Balsam Avenue and White Avenue – are in a state of disrepair. Poor drainage, exposure to traffic and a lack of pedestrian amenities characterize these two streets. Devastation following the 2013 flood and recent municipal infrastructure work has worsened the situation with some sections of pathway missing or buried underground.

Linked pedestrian routes are required to improve connectivity between major commercial areas, the recreational trail system and residential areas to the Hamlet Core. Improved connectivity and accessibility would drastically improve the safety, livability and attractiveness of the Hamlet.

Parking

Parking within the Hamlet is provided via surface lots. On street parking is not permitted within the Plan area. In general, likely due to its prominence along Balsam Avenue the vast majority of parking is accommodated at the Bragg Creek Mall. Public parking, as opposed to customer, is at a premium with a perceived conflict between business owners and day-use visitors of the local trails system. Additional parking struggles are located on White Avenue with a public concern over vehicles unlawfully parking their vehicles and damaging landscaped areas.

A good supply of parking in the right location is essential for nurturing business development and encouraging day-use visitors to spend their time in the community.

A parking management plan which re-examines on-street parking opportunities and additional parking areas located in close proximity to existing commercial areas is recommended.

SERVICING & UTILITIES

Water and wastewater servicing within the Hamlet has been a continual health issue for the last thirty years. In 2013, grants came in for the construction of potable water and wastewater lines, ensuring the long-term security and reliability of water and wastewater services for the residents of the Hamlet of Bragg Creek.

 

Please consult the original document to read more about the background. It is available here:
http://www.rockyview.ca/Portals/0/Files/BuildingPlanning/Planning/UnderReview/BraggCreek/Bragg-Creek-Plan-Draft-2015-12.pdf