The application for our next phase of development requires the amendment of our Springbank Creek Conceptual Scheme and a change of land use designation from agricultural to residential.
The Conceptual Scheme is the document that contains guidelines for development specific to this area and the amendment will allow centralized wastewater treatment for the entire project and spray irrigation of forage crops using the fully tested and treated output of the tertiary level treatment facility.
At the same time, three land use amendments will occur to secure residential land use on an a 43 lot parcel of 85 acres, to create a 42 acre parcel in the creek valley of Environmental and Municipal Reserve and designation of 85-100 acres for the spray irrigation of alfalfa and hay.
There is a great deal of confusion about density. Let’s take a moment to educate ourselves. Whether one acre, 2 acre or 4 acre lots, the maximum allowable density permitted under the Central Springbank Area Structure Plan is the same, no more than 64 units per quarter section. Our Springbank Creek density is the same density as the new subdivisions to the east.
Reducing lot size does not double the number of lots. The population does not double. The net effect of 1 acre lots is a higher percentage of open space and a lower percentage of private land. This is not a typical 2 acre rural subdivision and not “urban style”, it is a “conservation cluster” subdivision design.
The Springbank Creek plan area is 608 acres. At a density of 58 to 64 lots per quarter section over the entire 608 acres, the number of lots would total 220-240 in total. Of the 608 acres, open space accounts for 220-240 acres and the private school site is 75 acres. Roads and public utility lots and right of ways account for the remainder.
Waste Water Treatment:
Our collection, treatment and disposal of wastewater has not, is not, and never will be in any form a traditional septic field system.
- Wastewater does not drain to Springbank Creek or the Elbow River.
- Wastewater does not drain to the roadside ditches or wetlands.
- Wastewater does not seep into the ground water table.
- Wastewater and storm water systems are managed separately.
There are three components to our wastewater management plan; mechanical treatment, a pond for the storage of wastewater that has been fully treated by the plant and spray irrigation of forage crops.
We will use Membrane Bio-Reactor (MBR) technology maintained and operated under contract, by a provincially licensed company, to meet the needs of the entire development. The plant is contained in a building onsite and treatment is not affected by the saturation of soils in heavy rains. The system can be upgraded as technical improvements are available and can be expanded or reduced in capacity as user demands change. The treated wastewater is odourless, colourless and biologically safe. Issues with contamination of surface runoff in heavy rainfall events associated with septic fields in the high clay content soils found in this area are avoided with MBR treatment.
This is the same technology that Rocky View County uses in Bragg Creek, which can safely discharge treated water directly into the Elbow River up-steam of the Bragg Creek water intake. That facility is regulated and licensed by Alberta Environment and will process wastewater beyond the standards established by the Province of Alberta - as will ours.
Treated wastewater is held in the pond and applied to produce forage crops during the growing season by irrigation occurring only under optimal weather conditions. In the winter months water is stored in a pond, sized to store up to one year of post treatment production, for application in the next growing season. There is no treatment associated with the storage pond and as a result there is no odour.
The spray irrigation operation of forage crops is operated by a control system that includes onsite weather monitoring (sun, wind speed and direction, humidity) to optimize the balance between storage, growing alfalfa and hay and natural evaporation. Prior to entering storage or spray application, all of the fully treated water is tested to ensure it is in compliance with applicable AENV standards for irrigation.
Stormwater is not in any way connected to the treatment of wastewater. We are required to contain, treat and control the release of all surface runoff within the drainage basin in compliance with guidelines established by Alberta Environment. There are no changes in volume of flow into Springbank Creek due to this development but there is a change to the rate at which it moves and this must be controlled.
Surface runoff is collected by a network of ditches, swales and pipe that control the rate of flow entering the holding ponds. The ponds are constructed in the Springbank Creek valley but not in the existing stream “flow”. The storm water ponds form part of the landscape of the naturalized, low intensity park of approximately 75 acres connected via trails to the community.
Outfalls control the release of treated stormwater from the ponds based on retention times and volumes moving through the system. This retention provides treatment with respect to fertilizers, oils, silt and pets (remembering there is no wastewater from private septic fields) through landscaped settling ponds and controlled release into the stream.
As we are required to maintain the “return to source” of the Springbank Creek drainage basin, this stormwater management system maintains the integrity of the creek watershed for water quality, flood control and environmental protection. This addresses storm water management of our 608 acre portion of the Springbank Creek watershed. It will also improve the water quality of the 8200 acre Springbank Creek watershed upstream of our project as it flows through our stormwater system.
Ecosystem and Open Space:
The Springbank Creek Conceptual Scheme (adopted in June 2007) provides for the transfer of approximately 60 acres of Municipal Reserve from the 608 acre project (includes the school site) to the Springbank Creek valley and other land uses such as district pathways, parking at trailheads or play areas that would be designated as Municipal Reserve.
The creek is an intermittent stream that varies greatly in volume with the time of year and weather conditions. As an ecosystem, the creek banks and streambed have been heavily damaged by decades of over grazing and trampling by cattle and in no way represent an intact native riparian environment.
Part of our commitment is to integrate the storm water plan, landscape improvements and habitat development to foster a stable ecosystem that allows native flora and fauna to re-establish itself in the creek valley.
In addition to the 220 - 240 acres of Environmental Reserves and Municipal Reserves in the form of parks, publicly accessible trail networks run through common areas owned by the homeowner association. The community receives the benefit of the smaller lots through the publicly accessible pathways and more useable open space.
The extension of Lower Springbank Road to Range Road 33 is part of the road network as identified in the Springbank Functional Plan and will happen regardless of our project. There is no direct access for homes to Range Road 32, Range Road 33 and Lower Springbank Road.
The timing of that extension will be triggered by traffic counts on local roads and the needs of Rocky View Emergency Services and Fire Protection.
In a future stage, there is one internal crossing of Springbank Creek to the southwest corner of our project that will be constructed to the standards of Alberta Transportation and Alberta Environment. This will be integrated into the park development planning and the regeneration of the creek environment and storm water management.
There have been three Public Information sessions held to provide the community with an opportunity understand and provide comment on the application to amend the Springbank Conceptual Scheme and the most recent session held on December 11, 2012. Following the activation of this update we will place an information article in the Rocky View Weekly that outlines this application.
The material presented at the December 11, 2012 Public Information Session is available as a download here:
Open House Panels
Questions or comments to the developer can be made by email in the Contact section or by calling 1-866-678-3535