Plan Your County

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Plan Your County Overview Graphic

To continue growing in a way that meets the needs of our community in the long term, the County of Grande Prairie is reviewing and updating the plans, bylaws, strategies, and guidelines that shape local development.

This project began in 2023 with the development of a Hamlet Resiliency Strategy and a review of the current Municipal Development Plan, which is the high-level vision for the County. What we hear and learn from this process will set the stage for the Land Use Bylaw and Area Structure Plan reviews that will happen during 2024. Ultimately, this work will improve the

To continue growing in a way that meets the needs of our community in the long term, the County of Grande Prairie is reviewing and updating the plans, bylaws, strategies, and guidelines that shape local development.

This project began in 2023 with the development of a Hamlet Resiliency Strategy and a review of the current Municipal Development Plan, which is the high-level vision for the County. What we hear and learn from this process will set the stage for the Land Use Bylaw and Area Structure Plan reviews that will happen during 2024. Ultimately, this work will improve the development process, create appropriate development opportunities, and ensure the County is growing in a way that aligns with the vision that residents have for our County.

To be successful, we are asking those who live and work here to help Plan Your County. Your feedback is vital to developing plans and policies that work for the specific needs and culture of our County.

Main Components of the Plan Your County Project

Municipal Development Plan Update (2023-24)

STATUS: Currently conducting Phase 2 of Public Consultation

The Municipal Development Plan (MDP) is the primary policy document that provides long-term guidelines and policy direction for the future growth and development within the County of Grande Prairie. The MDP guides the policy direction for other planning documents, such as Area Structure Plans, and the Land Use Bylaw.

Hamlet Resiliency Strategy (2023-24)

STATUS: Currently being drafted

The Hamlet Resiliency Strategy is a special study looking into the needs of some of the County’s hamlets. As these smaller communities have unique needs and amenities, this study will engage with residents and other groups to identify their long-term requirements. This study will also look at what other types of amenities these hamlets could benefit from such as trails, cultural spaces or economic development programs. This study will look at the long-term needs for the County’s rural hamlets. This includes development but will also look at other needs such as recreational and cultural amenities, and economic development.

How were the hamlets included in the strategy chosen?

The strategy is examining 9 of the County’s 12 hamlets: Demmitt, Goodfare, Elmworth, La Glace, Valhalla, Huallen, Dimsdale, Teepee Creek and Bezanson. Hythe and Clairmont were not included because they are larger centers and already have specific policies in the Municipal Development Plan. Wedgewood was excluded because it is an urban hamlet.

Some of the recommendations from the strategy will inform policies in the Municipal Development Plan and others will be explored through different County initiatives.

Future Projects:

Land Use Bylaw Review (2025)

This bylaw outlines the standards when someone is developing a site, such as building a house. This bylaw will be reviewed to improve the application process and ensure that it continues to align with the community’s needs.

Area Structure Plan Reviews (2025)

These plans provide direction for long-term land use and details on the growth and development within a defined area in the County.

Educational Programs (2026)

The County will develop an educational program to help applicants navigate the new Planning Framework.

Other Planning & Development Documents (2026)

This includes a wide range of documents such as policies, non-statutory plans, and bylaws related to development in the County.

How do I get involved?

Considering how important the future of the County, our communities, growth and development is, there will be many opportunities to learn more and provide feedback both in person and online.

This page will be updated frequently with more information and upcoming opportunities to participate. If you would like to be kept informed directly through e-mail, please click the “Stay Informed” box on the right hand side.

  • May 16 MDP Workshop - Clarkson Hall Access

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    Tonight's Municipal Development Plan Review workshop is being held at Clarkson Hall in Evergreen Park (55051 TWP RD) from 6PM to 8PM. Evergreen Park management has advised us that due to the Petroleum Show at the TARA Energy Services Centre, the main road in front of the event center may be closed.

    You will be able to access Clarkson Hall from RGE RD 60, which leads towards the baseball diamonds. See the map below for the route to Clarkson hall:




  • Community Workshops Spring 2024

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    Join Us and Help Plan Your County

    We are hosting workshops across the County asking residents for their input to help guide the Municipal Development Plan (MDP) review. See the 'Upcoming Events' list on the right side of this page for dates and locations.

    All workshops are from 6pm to 8pm and will be held throughout the month of May.

    The workshops build on the previous consultation that was conducted last spring. The 2024 workshops will focus on elements of the MDP that relate to the priorities that participants identified in Phase 1 of consultation: Low taxes, Community and People, Recreation and Nature, and Agriculture.

    Format

    The format of the workshop is a presentation followed by a guided activity where participants will be involved in group discussions and a mapping exercise.

    If you are unable to arrive at the start time, or stay for the entire workshop, feel free to drop in and a member of County staff will provide you with information and assist you in joining the workshop for the time that you are available.

    Workbooks

    If you are unable to attend a workshop, you can participate by completing the Workbook. The Workbook can be found in the 'Document Library' on the right side of this page. There will also be physical copies and drop-off locations across the County.

    The Workbook provides background on the project and previous consultation. It asks respondents questions relating to the same topics as the workshops.

    While the workshops consist of a more open discussion without proposed policy options; the Workbook contains specific policy options for respondents to consider. The intent is to provide Workbook respondents with something specific to respond to and to provide context for them to base their comments on, since they will not have a facilitator to assist them.

    Workbooks need to be submitted by June 14th, 2024.

    What's Next?

    The feedback from the workshops and Workbook will be summarized in a 'What We Heard Report' that will be made available in July, 2024.

    County staff will use the feedback to guide them as they prepare a draft update to the Municipal Development Plan.

    There will be a third Phase of consultation to get public feedback on the draft.

  • Thanks for helping Plan Your County in 2023

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    As we come to the end of the year, we wanted to thank you for being involved in the County of Grande Prairie’s Plan Your County initiative.

    What We’ve Done So Far

    The first phase of this initiative has focused on understanding the values and priorities of the community and what makes the County of Grande Prairie special. To do this, more than 300 residents contributed their feedback in the spring and summer of 2023, identifying three main priorities: outdoor recreation and nature, community and people, and low taxes.

    A highlight of this initial work involved collaborating with junior high school students through the 'Planner for a Day' program. This unique opportunity allowed students from five schools to contribute their ideas by designing fictional communities inspired by the Grande Prairie region.

    In addition to the work on the MDP, work also began on the County’s first Hamlet Resiliency Strategy, looking at the long-term needs for the County’s rural hamlets as unique parts of the community. A final draft of this strategy will be made available to the public for comment before going to Council in 2024.

    What’s to Come in 2024

    The Plan Your County journey is far from over. Draft policy options for the County's MDP are expected to be released for public feedback in the spring of 2024, with work beginning on other planning documents to follow.

    The County of Grande Prairie appreciates the contributions of everyone who participated so far and looks forward to hearing even more feedback in the year to come.

  • Second Hamlet Survey Now Available

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    CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

    Based on what we heard from residents this spring and summer, a number of recommendations have been developed for the County’s hamlets. We want to know what you think about these draft recommendations and if there’s anything we might have missed.

    Complete the short online survey here or pick up a paper copy at the County Administration Building. The survey will run until October 9.

  • What We Heard Report No 1

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    Over the Spring and Summer of 2023, hundreds of people gave their feedback on the future of the County's hamlets and shared their values and priorities for the County. A report on what we heard from this engagement on the Hamlet Resiliency Strategy (HRS) and the Municipal Development Plan (MDP) review is now available.

  • One Week Left to Share Your Insights for the County Municipal Development Plan Review

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    Don't miss out on an opportunity to Plan Your County by using our interactive workbook for the Municipal Development Plan Review. The deadline for feedback during this crucial phase of the project is approaching fast on Friday, July 21. Your input truly matters, and together, we can help create a prosperous future for our community.

    Getting a workbook is easy: simply download the workbook or drop by the County Administration Building to pick up a copy.

    Completed workbooks can be emailed to planyourcounty@countygp.ab.ca or dropped off at the County Administration Building.

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  • Student Planning Workshop Samples

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    This spring/summer we are visiting local schools to find out what our County’s young people like about living here and how we can make it even better.

    At the schools, we are teaching students about municipal government and community planning. Students get to act like planners and come up with some guiding principles and a long-term concept for a community or part of a community.

    For this assignment, the students worked in groups of three to five people. They were asked to come up with a name for their fictional community that represented what they love about their own community or the values they want to promote with their design.

    The students were then asked to choose a Reeve who would present the groups ideas.

    Next, students came up with ten goals for their fictional community. The goals are meant to guide the design of their community by highlighting what they want to achieve for their residents. After coming up with their ten goals, the students were asked to design their fictional communities. A worksheet was provided that had a map of a fictional landscape containing typical features that you see throughout the County: a highway, a railway, a forested area, a lake, and a stream.

    The students were asked to consider the size of the area, its diversity (e.g. rural agricultural areas to urban hamlets) and to consider the needs of all residents across these areas.

    This student work will be used along with input from other consultation activities such as the Community Workshops as part of the County of Grande Prairie’s Municipal Development Plan update. The students’ goals will be used as a source for ideas for our own goals and/or goal topics for the review. The design ideas that the students create will also provide ideas for updated or new MDP policies. Even some of the student drawings may also be used to illustrate concepts in the updated plan.

    To see a sample of the students' work, click on Student Planning Workshop Samples under Documents.

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  • Initial Workshops - What We Heard

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    The initial round of workshops for the Plan Your County were held during the week of April 24 with events in Bezanson, Valhalla, and La Glace. Thank you to everyone who was able to come out!

    What we heard

    We had many good conversations and received a lot of feedback. Some of the initial themes that we have heard are:

    • The value of preserving agricultural land
    • The importance of food security
    • Wanting an opportunity to purchase locally produced food

    Other comments we heard at the sessions were about improving sewage capacity, the development of housing, and the need for new residential lots while keeping the community small.

    On April 27, we also had our first student event at Teepee Creek School, which was a fun interactive experience. Students were asked to be Planners for a day and they worked on creating their own communities. 40 students participated creating eight community designs, which were displayed at the public meeting that evening.

    Upcoming opportunities

    The Plan Your County team will be in Bezanson, Hythe, Valhalla, and Whispering Ridge for a series of drop in Community Workshops to talk about the review of the Municipal Development Plan – the County’s high-level vision to guide growth. Here’s the schedule:

    • May 11, 5-7 PM: Bezanson at the Bezanson School
    • May 18, 5-7 PM: Hythe at the at Hythe Regional School
    • May 25, 5-7 PM: Valhalla at the Valhalla Community School
    • June 8, 5 – 6 PM: Clairmont at the Whispering Ridge Community School

    Please note, additional events may be added as required.

    What do we do with this feedback?

    Our team will take all of what we’ve heard at these events and what we continue to hear and apply them to the development of the Hamlet Resiliency Strategy and the review of the Municipal Development Plan. Understanding what residents value is an important part of knowing how and where we should grow and develop as a County.

    Don’t forget the survey!

    The first Hamlet Resiliency Strategy survey will run until May 14. Recommendations from the strategy will be used in the Municipal Development Plan review to ensure that the needs of our hamlets are reflected in the broader vision for the County. Residents are invited to complete a short survey on what you love and would like to see within the strategy’s nine hamlets. The survey should take no more than 10 minutes to complete.

Page last updated: 16 May 2024, 01:31 PM