A town hall is being organized by Rocky View County (RVC) on November 2 to tackle the question of whether the County should introduce an off-site soft services levy bylaw.

An off-site soft services levy is a, 'fee charged by a municipality to developers to help fund the future costs of “soft services” the community will need, such as fire stations, recreation centers, libraries, and police stations,' according to RVC. The County underlined that the levy won't be charged to existing homeowners of developments.

"Residents would only be impacted if they decide to subdivide and develop their land. Off-site soft services levy funding can be used to construct new infrastructure and to expand existing infrastructure."

According to the Soft Services Levy Bylaw Development Summary Report by the county, there are several phases to the project, the first of which began in August 2022.

"It is noted that the project is also guided by the current legislation stipulated within the Alberta Municipal Government Act (MGA). Soft services off-site levies allow a municipality to recover capital costs for these types of infrastructure based on the degree of benefit the development will receive from these facilities. It is a charge imposed by a municipality through authorization by the Municipality’s Council by the adoption of a bylaw. The charge can be collected from a developer as a condition of development or subdivision. The funds submitted to the municipality from the developer must be separately managed and used only for the scope of infrastructure per the stipulations within the bylaw."

The project is now in its third phase and, 'will be focused on external consultation and the development of a draft soft service levy bylaw for Council review by the fourth quarter of 2023.'

Within the next 20 years, there are several new fire hall facilities planned, including Madden, Bragg Creek, Conrich, Harmony, as well as Cochrane Lakes.  Recreational facilities in the next two decades include Indus (ice rink), South Springbank (community centre, indoor field, and connecting outdoor park and amenities), Langdon (recreation centre and field house), Harmony (community centre), as well as the Conrich (community centre).

Four different level options have been identified for both recreational facilities and fire halls, including individual levy rates per facility, a common levy rate by catchment location, the lowest levy rate, which would be enacted regardless of development location across the County, and lastly, a lower common base levy rate across the County relative to the previous option.

The Thursday, November 2 town hall will take place at the Rocky View County Hall. RVC is inviting members of the development community and interested residents to attend.

"At this event, the project team will discuss the off-site soft services levy framework options and gather feedback from attendees. Following engagement with developers and interested residents, the project team will present their findings and various levy frameworks to Rocky View County Council for a decision on the implementation of the levy."

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