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Rocky View County unanimously rejects proposed development

A proposed development in the Bearspaw area was unanimously rejected by Rocky View County Council on Friday following two days of public hearings. (Highfield Land Management - image credit)
A proposed development in the Bearspaw area was unanimously rejected by Rocky View County Council on Friday following two days of public hearings. (Highfield Land Management - image credit)

A proposed commercial and residential development west of the city won't be going ahead, at least for now.

Rocky View County Council denied the application Friday, after hearing a great deal of community opposition.

Highfield Land Management was seeking approval to redesignate a 275-acre parcel of land to build more than 800 homes, including multi-unit properties and a shopping centre, in the Bearspaw area. The proposed development was called Ascension.

But after a two-day public hearing that saw hundreds of people come out in opposition to the project, Rocky View Council unanimously rejected the plan.

Steve Lilly is with the group Protecting Bearspaw, which was created as a result of the Ascension proposal.

In an interview with CBC News, he said the main concerns for his group were the proposed marketplace and the density of the development.

"We do live out in the country. Even though it is a stone's throw from the city border, we live a country lifestyle. The services that we've become accustomed to aren't the same as the city," Lilly said.

"It was an urban-style project on country lands."

County Reeve Crystal Kissel brought forward the motion to turn the proposal down. She said her biggest concerns were with the density of the development and the amount of commercial space being proposed.

She also had questions about wastewater and stormwater runoff, increased traffic flows, and the availability of schools.

Kissel said she didn't hear anything over the course of the hearings that satisfied those concerns.

"For me personally, at the end of the hearing I had more questions than answers," Kissel told CBC News.

Kissel said the developer now has six months to return with a new proposal. She recommends they spend that time consulting and working with local residents.

"The developer has an opportunity to work with these people. They understand development is coming. They know that. But they want to be included in the conversation from the beginning," Kissel said.

Lilly, with Protecting Bearspaw, said his group welcomes the opportunity to work with the developer in coming up with a more appropriate plan for the area. And he says he's proud of his neighbours for standing up to this particular proposal.

"I think the community did well in representing themselves. I think we came together as a group, which is something very difficult to do. I'm proud of everybody that came out and shared their voice," Lilly said.

CBC News requested a comment from the developers, but Highfield Land Management did not respond.