Courtesy of the Calgary Metropolitan Region Board

A rapidly growing population in the Calgary area will impact surrounding communities now and in the future.

From families to businesses, decision-making around infrastructure investment, economic well-being and environmentally responsible land use is a big deal. That’s why the Calgary Metropolitan Region Board (CMRB) is prioritizing public input as it plans for the area’s future.

The not-for-profit government corporation was formed in 2018, with a board comprised of elected officials from each of its 10 member municipalities and rural counties. Jordon Copping, chief office for the CMRB, said the main purpose of the organization is long-term, sustainable growth within the Calgary Metropolitan Region, which includes communities like Airdrie, High River, Cochrane and Strathmore.

As population in the area is projected to grow tremendously in coming years, the CMRB is working hard to develop its Growth & Servicing Plan for 2021. The plan will guide growth and related policies for the Calgary Metropolitan Region around economic, social and environmental issues. Some topics of interest for the involved communities include transportation, water management, land use, services and recreation.

“We wanted to ensure this was accessible for people. Urban planning is a pretty technical undertaking, but we’re ensuring people can still access this when it’s not something they do in their daily lives.” – Jordon Copping, Calgary Metropolitan Region Board

The CMRB’s online platform for collecting public feedback is open from July 24 until Sept. 4. The available options for engagement include a quick poll, discussion forum, six-question survey and e-mail question box. People can also share their thoughts directly with the CMRB over the phone.

“We wanted to ensure this was accessible for people,” said Copping. “Urban planning is a pretty technical undertaking, but we’re ensuring people can still access this when it’s not something they do in their daily lives.”

Public engagement is based around three possible scenarios, each based on a different growth approach prepared by regional planning firm HDR Calthorpe. This feedback will ensure the public’s priorities inform growth plans and decisions according to each community’s unique needs.

“The most important thing to be aware of is that we’re really looking for the public to weigh in on what they like and what they don’t like about each of the three scenarios that have been prepared for the board,” said Copping. “It’s important to note that it’s not a ‘pick one’ – it’s a ‘what do you like and dislike about one or the other’ type of exercise.

“We currently live in an amazing region and we’re going to be welcoming the next million people who move into it. This is your opportunity to have some say in what you want that to look like.”