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IDP approval process postponed until August

Masha Scheele
reporter@hintonvoice.ca


Edits were made to the draft Intermunicipal Development Plan (IDP) and agreed upon between Town of Hinton and Yellowhead County administration.

During the special meeting of council on July 16, administration asked council members to approve the IDP, but council members felt they were not well informed on the IDP amendments. They opted to give second reading and postpone the third reading to the regular council meeting on Aug. 20.

“The major edit made to the plan was taking out the one provision of policy area referred to as annexation,” stated Peter Vana, interim director planning & development. The annexation portion of the IDP was removed before the meeting on July 16.

The other amended section was made regarding the boundary of the IDP fringe area. Coun. Dewly Nelson addressed the fact that council brought up major concerns with the document at first reading and that a meeting was to be held between administration and council to discuss them.

“The edits weren’t part of the report, I just feel there’s a lot I don’t know and I was expecting to get the opportunity to have a conversation,” said Nelson.

Coun. Tyler Waugh agreed with Nelson but spoke in favour of second reading as a sign of good faith towards the county. “I would like second reading done at least, it shows some forward momentum with the IDP in respect to the work done by administration.”

Yellowhead County Council has passed the IDP bylaw already after all issues in the document had been agreed on by both parties, stated Vana.

“We’re happy with the document. It really had the one big issue regarding the annexation and that has been removed, so from our standpoint we’re happy with it,” said Vana.

Vana voiced concern over how the county might perceive Hinton council not moving forward with third reading and that a true test of trust and commitment would be to go forward with both second and third reading.

“I don’t know what the process is for Yellowhead County but I know for us, we have a responsibility to make sure we fully understand any development plan, any plan that we put in place with another municipality. And I don’t think through our process we’ve gained that knowledge in the proper context, either with the original plan, or the edits that have been made since,” said Waugh.

Vana apologized for not having a meeting with council on the changes, but that the intent had been  to have a meeting if there was no resolution between the town and county. 

Following first reading of the IDP and a public hearing on May 21, the Town of Hinton administration worked with Yellowhead County to arrive at a mutually beneficial IDP that considers the needs of both municipalities, said Lorraine Walker, planning and development.

Once the IDP gets approved, work begins on the Intermunicipal Collaboration Framework (ICF), which is a framework developed and agreed to by municipalities sharing a common border.

An ICF provides for integrated and strategic planning, delivery and funding of intermunicipal services, stewards scarce resources efficiently in providing local services, and ensures municipalities contribute funding to services that benefit their residents.

“Currently the town of Hinton and Yellowhead County have a joint revenue sharing agreement that this would take the place of,” said Walker.

An approved IDP and ICF have been mandated by the Province to be completed by April 1, 2020 between municipalities that share a boundary.

“Next process is the ICF, there’s a meeting already scheduled for this week to kick off that meeting with CAO and myself and the county,” stated Vana.

Vana explained that the different components of an ICF identify the existing services of the town, the existing services the county offers, the services both municipalities share together, and what items could be collaborated on in future services. “There will be a meeting between the two councils to have a conversation as part of this process,” said Vana.

The IDP serves as an appendix to the ICF explained Vana, and it would be beneficial to have the IDP in place before discussing the ICF with Yellowhead County.