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MD won’t zone land for truck stop, centre

MD of Willow Creek council has denied an application to re-zone land for a truck stop and treatment centre just west of Granum.
Council on Dec. 15 discussed the by-law to re-zone land at NE-36-10-27-4 from rural general to rural commercial and rural recreation.
About 29 acres would be rural commercial for a market square and truck stop, about 17 acres would be rural recreation for a ball diamond.
The addiction healing centre also operated by the Gilead Foundation would be on the existing rural general land.
MD of Willow Creek planner Mike Burla said the application had three parts but any decision must be based on the entire package.
Coun. Phil Wakelin said council has talked about trying to limit development so it is close to towns within the municipality, making this application suitable for that purpose.
Reeve Henry Van Hierden agreed, likening it to the proposed police college in Fort Macleod.
Coun. Glen Alm asked if there is a provision for the zoning to revert to rural general if construction is not started by a certain date.
Burla responded that provision is in the new land use by-law and suggested tabling a decision on the re-zoning until that new land-use by-law is adopted.
The matter was then tabled until the afternoon.
The new land use by-law was adopted shortly thereafter, and discussion resumed in the afternoon.
Coun. Ian Sundquist said the Gilead Foundation, who is the applicant, can do what it wants on the rural general land, which is the location of the treatment centre.
The biggest issue is the truck stop, which Sundquist did not see as an advantage for Granum.
Coun. Earl Hemmaway said the problem with the truck stop is that council keeps saying it wants to support agriculture and ranching. A truck stop does not fit.
Wakelin reiterated his thought about keeping development close to towns. If the development was on Highway 2 but not close to Granum, or out in the hills, he would not support it.
Van Hierden addressed the issue of the truck stop being unnecessary competition to other businesses. He said it is up to the developer to decide whether it’s profitable.
Burla pointed out the various blocks of development would be addressed at the subdivision stage.
Coun. Glen Alm said the developer asked for all three at once because they work together. Treatment centre clients would work at the truck stop.
Van Hierden said he couldn’t see the development not being good for Granum, providing jobs or spin-off jobs.
Wakelin added another benefit is staff at the centre could live in Granum.
Alm said it is a tough decision. The treatment centre is a good project but the area is not the right location for the truck stop.
Burla reminded councillors they have to vote on all three as a package. Also, the treatment centre does not require any re-zoning so an application to begin construction could be filed immediately.
Council defeated the re-zoning by-law with Wakelin and Van Hierden voting in favour and the rest of council voting opposed.

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