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Letter to the Editor: Those who live in glass houses should not throw rocks

According to your recent (May 20) editorial, “The province has left Cochrane between a rock and a hard place with CMRB." The idiom "between a rock and a hard place" means to have to choose between two equally undesirable choices.
letter to the editor graphic stock
Letter to the editor. (Shutterstock)

According to your recent (May 20) editorial, “The province has left Cochrane between a rock and a hard place with CMRB."

The idiom "between a rock and a hard place" means to have to choose between two equally undesirable choices. In the current situation, that is a misapplication of the meaning of that idiom.

The reality is that when it comes to the Calgary Regional Metropolitan Board (CMRB) our Mayor, Jeff Genung, along with a supporting role by the Town’s Administration, has been a strong supporter and advocate of the CMRB.

When it comes to “the province” supposedly creating such an untenable situation for Cochrane, it should be mentioned that the CMRB, a top-down centralized planning structure, was created by an Order-in-Council (that is, not through debate in the Legislature) by the Notley NDP government in 2017.

Mayor Genung has expressed satisfaction with the CMRB and its voting structure, whereby the outnumbered rural municipalities are put in a situation where they are forced to play ball with the urban communities. One just has to watch any of the CMRB Board meetings (accessible at the CMRB website) to see how those dynamics play out. For a vote to carry, the voting mechanism requires two thirds, or seven of the elected representatives on the Board, along with the vote by Calgary, which has veto power by virtue of its overwhelming population.

The common pattern that one observes at those meetings is that the seven urban municipalities along with Calgary line up to vote against the three rural communities. No wonder that at the penultimate CMRB Board meeting on May 21 that the three rural communities were outvoted when it came to accepting the CMRB’s Growth Plan for the region.

That contradicts your editorial’s assertion that the CMRB, which mandates participation by the 10 municipalities represented, was “designed to minimize conflict between municipalities."

The very first question in the CMRB’s survey conducted as part of its Third Phase Public Engagement makes it very clear as to the primary objective of the CMRB’s Growth Plan for the region, “One of those choices is to prescribe where development happens in ‘preferred growth areas’ if it results in the benefits shown above rather than allowing development to happen in an entrepreneurial way across the region. This means that those areas that are not ‘preferred’ (which are all in rural municipalities) are not likely to see the development that municipalities and community members may have been hoping and planning for."

Disappointing that our Mayor along with the support of the Town’s Administration and four of the six councillors have put our Town on this centralized-planning pathway which has profound long-term implications for our community and very limited, to no opportunity, for our community to have a say.

Submitted by,

Deborah Murphy, Ron Voss, Barry Blick, Jacques Tredoux, Len Danard, Lori Donison, Diane Beynon Arsenault, Lorilynn Pidsadowski , Carla McPike, L. (Tex) Leugner, and Jen Michaluk