Response to Shantz Crossing meeting

Tuesday, Apr 17, 2012 06:00 am

Re: Municipal spending and Shantz Crossing

I attended the Special Council Meeting Wednesday, April 11 that was held to discuss and vote on getting Shantz Crossing work started.

I wish all residents of Didsbury could see how hard everyone there was pushing important concerns to drive our town forward in the best way possible.

The mayor started with a history of the project and the many issues surrounding it. I think itís important that everyone understand that outside developers have been approached to do this development, but are unwilling due to the cost of servicing that would need to be paid and an inability to ensure profit.

For the town to do this, and just break even, means years of crucial tax income and other benefits which drive our town ahead.

Mr. Ric Wohlgmuth spoke to budget issues, and how risky full development of this land is, and about the debt load for the residents of Didsbury.

The mayor agreed that there is a risk but homework has been done, the stormwater/wetlands project was done under budget, and residents also voted in people wanting to take Didsbury forward while respecting what Didsbury is now.

He stressed that Didsbury needs commercial tax revenue, as well as jobs and other benefits that commercial development will bring, and this project is therefore a defining project for our future.

Everyone seemed to agree that this direction is important, and everyone wants to fight to make Didsbury the growing town it needs to be.

Mr. Wayne Poffenroth addressed the council to add from his perspective as a developer that the plan right now was risky, and there is an opportunity to pause and make it better.

Shantz Crossing is what is needed but a second look to minimize risk is critical and he would be willing to help refine the plan to ensure its success.

Council listened to the input, and put off a vote until a group could look at these and come up with recommendations.

I have been to many council meetings over the last year as a resident, often alone in the gallery. Yet when it mattered, other residents that can help this town are stepping up, and council is listening.

I believe the council and the mayor are doing an excellent job driving us forward and if everyone leans in more, our town will prosper.

They deserve our admiration for their hard work to build our town and I encourage every town resident to support their efforts to make the best plans possible for our future.

Bruce Milne



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