This is one resident’s view of the plan. As I don’t live in the hamlet I won’t be directly affected, but as part of the community I am very interested in the future of Bragg Creek. I tried to make the plan a bit more accessible by selecting some of the highlights and providing some of the background information that the plan is based on. Use the links below or in the bar above to get started.
I’m a Bragg Creek resident. I own and operate the braggcreek.ca website and the braggcreekca Twitter account. Anything you read there is my opinion or information I think is relevant to Bragg Creek. At one point I thought my website could represent Bragg Creek. That didn’t happen. I thought I might be able to live off the income the website generated. I had that backwards. I also thought I had a pretty good handle on what mattered to Bragg Creek. It’s complicated. I’ve been thinking about “core community values” lately – I don’t think Bragg Creek has any. Anarchy rules. The only thing that distinguishes me from my neighbours is:
- I’ve devoted a lot of time and effort to understanding and presenting this community on the Internet
- I own/operate communications channels that provide me a significant presence on the Internet.
The Way-Back Machine
I’m going to fire up the “Way-Back” machine and travel back to the late 1990s. The Calgary Herald ran a front page headline about 4 cm tall that said Bragg Creek water was contaminated. That led to a moratorium on development in the hamlet, pending a resolution to the water supply and treatment system. That meant no more effluent from septic systems flowing into downstream wells. Now that the hamlet has a water system, the moratorium has been lifted. The first new development that Rocky View approved was the new ESSO gas station. In my view that building is out of character with the rest of Bragg Creek.
“The perfect storm hit when the work to install the water system led to roads being torn up and trees cut down, the gas station construction dragged on and made a mess of the east end of the shopping centre and then in June of 2013 the flood hit and everything changed. Buildings were lost, infrastructure wrecked, mud filled businesses and homes in the hamlet floodplain causing massive disruption and forcing businesses to close. We needed a way to get back on our feet.
After a couple of years of consultation with the community and urban planners, Rocky View has come up with a “Revitalization Plan”. The intent of the plan is to strike “The right balance between proper growth, change and conserving the precious community character . . . Better connecting the community, protecting it from further flooding, as well as building a thriving and resilient local economy . . .” The 68-page report contains great ideas for building pathways to promote a healthy lifestyle. It suggest ways to build flood resistant buildings and develop facilities to stimulate tourism and the local economy. As you can see from the attached conceptual sketch, the core of the hamlet will be transformed by high density multi-store, multi-family housing, a senior’s residence new hotels and restaurants. There’s a very intriguing “adventure centre”.
All around us, in Cochrane, Canmore, Airdrie, Okotoks and elsewhere, development has boomed. But not much has changed here since 1996-7. There is a lot of investment money out there and the county would like to get some tax revenue to pay for that water system I’m sure. So a change is coming. I’m just a little worried that the ESSO station is the thin edge of the wedge opening up a dramatic transformation of the character of Bragg Creek, despite the county’s assurance that it won’t happen. I don’t think the plan is good or bad, it’s both, but I just wish they’d tell us the truth, Bragg Creek will never be the same again. When I read between the lines of the plan it looks to me like the county and the urban planners think that Bragg Creek should become a lot more like Canmore.
The county’s revitalization plan says that preserving the character of Bragg Creek is a top priority. Let’s level with each other – change is coming, good or bad it will transform Bragg Creek. The county has a plan to enhance our quality of life, to generate tax revenue, to stimulate business – but it won’t preserve the character of Bragg Creek.
The original community centre burned to the ground in 1998 – a terrible loss. The new one is better, but the old one was built with materials and man-hours supplied by the community. Maybe the old one had character whereas the new one has features. It enhances our quality of life and it even has some log pillars supporting the awning over the entrance. Of course that was primarily a community project. No urban planners involved. Even the county, then the Municipal District, took a back seat. I remember a “Needs Assessment” meeting where a lady got an ovation for saying that we should keep the trees. If you take one out, put another back in. Bragg Creek can be better. The trick is, will it still be Bragg Creek? Yes it will, because Bragg Creek isn’t what it was, its what it is and its our responsibility to make it the best it can be.
I imagine in 10 years we’ll look back at old photos with some saying, “what a dump”, others will say, “this is so much better”, others will say, “look what we lost”.
We call it a Hamlet, but it isn’t. The Land Use section raises a very important point that I think underlies a lot of the reasoning behind the suggestion that lot sizes should be reduced and the density of residences increased by adding infills. The Municipal Government Act requires that an unincorporated community may be designated a Hamlet only if the majority of lot parcels are smaller than 0.457 acres (1850 sq. metres). Only 12.2% of lots in the hamlet are under 0.457 acres. This means Bragg Creek does not qualify to access a number of provincial funds. The average lot size in the Hamlet is 3.58 acres (14,488 sq. metres).
The Bragg Creek Revitalization Plan is a 68-page document. It has a lot of information that describes how and why the proposals developed. It provides details about what the plan proposes to do. It contains a lot of photos, illustrations and maps that help develop the vision the plan intends to achieve. I tried to trim all that down to a few pages of highlights. My apologies to the County of Rocky View and the consultants who produced the plan. I know they would rather that you see the plan in its entirety, but not many of us have the time to do that.
Revitalization Plan review
Rocky View Council will consider the approval of the Bragg Creek Revitalization Plan on December 8, 2015 at their regular Council meeting.
The proposed Revitalization Plan can be reviewed here.