What will happen to existing businesses and clubs in the Plan Area?

    A number of existing businesses and City utilities currently operate within the Plan Area, including a steel and recycling operation, data mining facility, and a number of special outdoor recreation facilities (such as the racetrack/speedway, Remote Control Aircraft (RC) club, and gun range), power substation, and City oil and gas operations.

    Privately owned parcels of the data mining facility and steel and recycling operations will not be impacted by the Northwest Industrial ASP, as they are consistent with the future vision and direction of the Plan, serving as employment generating industrial uses. City power substation and oil and gas facilities are also consistent with ASP objectives as a valuable utility service provider for future development of the area.

    We understand and appreciate the concerns about what will happen to these clubs over the long-term. It is important to retain valuable organizations and amenities such as these clubs for residents of Medicine Hat. They have strong, active membership bases that provide a service to the community. That is why the City is committed to continuing discussions with club leadership to ensure that their long-term success is supported. The City will continue to work with each club in identifying alternative sites , should there be a need to relocate. Discussions are ongoing with respect to how these organizations and clubs will be challenged should development reach their affected lands. 

    The special outdoor recreation facilities currently operate on lands owned by the City under lease agreements which allows more opportunity to ensure any impacts to the clubs are managed in partnership between club leadership and the City. It is important to understand that the adoption of the ASP does not require these clubs to cease operations or immediately relocate. It is not a requirement of the ASP that these businesses or clubs are relocated until such time as lands are required for future industrial development in affected areas, which will provide at least 1-2 years of notice.  As several infrastructure upgrades are needed to fully service the Plan Area (including sanitary, water, and transportation upgrades, among others), it is anticipated that future development will take significant time to reach the affected outdoor recreation areas (potentially 10-25 years) with development progressing from south (Broadway Ave NW) to north.

    The draft ASP provides policy direction to ensure that clubs can remain in regular operation until it is necessary for alternative developments and relocation of any impacted clubs (see Section 3.3 and Section 8.4 of the draft Plan).  

    If relocation of area clubs is potentially needed, it would mean that investment in the community is flourishing and that the City of Medicine Hat is successfully growing its tax base. This growth is needed to keep taxes low for its current (and future) residents and to increase employment opportunities for a sustainable economy.

    Will the City pay for relocation of the clubs?

    We do not have detailed information regarding exact locations for potential relocation or financial support committed to each club at this time; however, please be assured the City is in discussion with all clubs on this topic. It will likely take a number of years (i.e., 15-25 years) before development reaches the northern two quarter sections of the Plan Area. Over these next several years, the City will continue working with the clubs to identify potential relocation sites and address any other challenges that may occur to support any potential relocation. While this is not part of the ASP process, it is important to understand the City is not planning to close the clubs down or terminate their operations prior to any lease expiry. The City is committed to addressing the long-term solution for these clubs outside of the ASP process. Existing leases are anticipated to be renewed for clubs in their current locations in shorter terms (e.g., 3-5-year renewals) when the current leases expire, while the City continues to work directly with each club to identify potential relocation opportunities.

    Why can you not locate this industrial area somewhere else?

    Providing opportunity for large-scale/heavy industrial development is integral to supporting the City’s economic diversification priorities, attracting new business to the City, and increasing job opportunities for residents of Medicine Hat. Finding suitable lands for large-scale/heavy industrial opportunities, however, is very challenging. Developers of heavy industry typically require large, flat parcels (e.g., 10+ acres), nearby connections to major transportation corridors (such as the Trans-Canada Highway), often require rail service, and have unique servicing requirements. Heavy industrial operations are also not suitable for locating near residential areas. These types of businesses need to be located within a safe distance from where people live, stay in hotels, and gather in large groups.

    With this in mind, future growth areas were explored as part of the City’s Municipal Development Plan (MDP) process, which directs where future residential, commercial, and industrial growth is anticipated to occur in Medicine Hat over the long-term. Ultimately, the North Sector (see MDP Figure 4) was identified in the MDP as the most appropriate location for heavy industrial development in the city and approved by Council in 2020.

    As a comparison, the southwest region of Medicine Hat is located too far away from available rail connections and too close to existing and future residential areas, such as Southlands and Cimmaron. Lands in northeast Medicine Hat are located too far to extend necessary servicing to the area, would require substantial changes to the rail network, and is close to existing residential developments such as Ranchlands and NE Crescent Heights. For these reasons, large-scale/heavy industrial opportunities or not effectively supported in these areas.

    With the ASP lands being in close proximity to existing heavy industrial businesses (such as CF and Methanex), having nearby access to CP Rail connections and the Trans-Canada Highway, and being further removed from residential areas, makes it extremely well suited to provide valuable, serviced land for future large-scale/heavy industrial development in Medicine Hat.

    What is an Area Structure Plan (ASP)?

    An ASP is a long-term planning document that sets out a vision for an area of land and establishes policies and guidelines that work towards achieving that vision. The purpose of an ASP is to:

    • Refine and implement the City’s broad planning objectives and policies of the Municipal Development Plan (MDP) and other City priorities and policies (such as Council Priorities, Transportation Plan(s), Medicine Hat’s “Financially Fit” Plan, etc.) through promotion of logical, organized, and sustainable development practices.
    • Guide and direct future land use, subdivision, and development decisions that collectively determine the form that the Plan Area takes. These development decisions include outlining general, future land uses (such as light/medium or heavy categories of industrial), services and facilities required for the Plan Area, transportation systems, population and jobs projections, and sequencing of development.

    Why are we creating a new ASP for the Northwest Industrial Area?

    The Medicine Hat City Council Strategic Plan plays a key role in the creation of the Northwest Industrial ASP through finding ways to grow and diversify the city’s economy with increased employment and industry opportunities, focusing on intensification and private development. Key Result 2.5 of the Strategic Plan also specifically references developing the NW Industrial area (where this Plan resides).

    Additionally, the Northwest Industrial ASP responds to the new Medicine Hat Municipal Development Plan (MDP), also known as the myMH Master Plan which was approved by City Council in 2020. A future employment growth area identified as the “North Sector” in the MDP works towards implementing key goals of the Strategic Plan, as mentioned above. The Northwest Industrial ASP represents the next step in the planning process, helping put these high-level, city-wide goals into action, setting the stage for future land uses and organized growth within northwest Medicine Hat.

    How does the Northwest Industrial ASP respond to priorities of the the MDP?

    The ASP works towards realizing the priorities of the MDP by:

    • Establishing a framework for development of land in the North Employment Sector that can accommodate growth of existing industry and attract new, compatible industries,
    • Reserving large, unfragmented blocks of land that are suitable for both medium and large-scale industrial operations,
    • Locating heavy industrial lands, which may have specific energy requirements, in proximity to the north power plant,
    • Outlining appropriate zoning, development regulations, and conditions so that the area is suitable for medium and large-scale industrial operations,
    • Collaborating with the Town of Redcliff and Cypress County for potential allocation of land for a major east to west transportation and utility corridor (52 St NW), and

    Defining site infrastructure and servicing requirements necessary to facilitate large-scale industrial development.

    How does this Plan relate to the Box Springs ASP?

    The Box Springs ASP (adopted in 2006, amended in 2013) provides policy direction for the central-east quarter section, and two southernmost quarter sections of the Northwest Industrial ASP lands (SW, SE, and NW Section 15). Policies contained within the Northwest Industrial ASP pertaining to these three quarter sections will supersede all policies regarding the same lands within the Box Springs Industrial ASP, which will undergo an amendment for adoption of the Northwest Industrial ASP.

    Why is the Box Springs ASP being amended?

    The Box Springs ASP has undergone many changes since its initial conception. The vision for the Plan changed to a more regionally focused commercial with light industrial area of development. In light of many regional commercial destinations, restaurants, and the new arena being developed in this area, the vision has shifted to one that no longer focuses on bringing serviced, industrial land opportunities to the area. As such, the Plan will be amended so that a dedicated industrial plan may be brought forward in the form of the Northwest Industrial ASP.

    The Northwest Industrial ASP will provide a more consolidated vision for this area’s industrial development, land use, as well as future staging and implementation of infrastructure. The Plan will align with the intent and desired outcomes of the recently adopted MDP (2020), and amendments to the Tri-Area Intermunicipal Development Plan (IDP, 2020), which meets a legislated provincial requirement of the urban planning framework. The Northwest Industrial ASP provides the necessary, comprehensive planning for this area to prepare for continued, organized industrial growth in northwest Medicine Hat, north of Box Springs Rd NW.

    What will this do for our city?

    Future industrial development within the Plan Area will contribute to the city’s economic development, providing future serviced industrial opportunities, and continue to push Medicine Hat to the forefront within the region as a hub for modern industrial development opportunities.  It is estimated that approximately 1,992 new jobs will be brought into the city at full buildout of this area.

    Why are we targeting this area for industrial growth?

    The MDP outlines future growth areas throughout the entirety of the city, including residential, commercial, infill, and industrial growth. While there are a number of potential growth areas throughout the city, there are limited areas where heavy industrial operations may occur. The “North Sector” of the city (as defined by the MDP) represents the best and most logical opportunity for further industrial development in Medicine Hat. The proximity to existing heavy industry (such as CF and Methanex) will allow for contiguous growth of similar operations and support a more diverse economic base for the city moving forward.

    In addition, heavy industrial operators typically require connections to rail. This area of the city is best suited to incorporate additional rail connections which is key in attracting further industrial growth in Medicine Hat.

    When will all of this happen?

    Development of the Plan Area is highly dependent on industrial market conditions in the southern Alberta region. Future demand for industrial land is difficult to accurately predict, however; if there is a major demand for industrial lands in the region a quicker buildout of the Plan Area may result, whereas lower demand for industrial development will result in a lengthier buildout. We currently anticipate full buildout between 10 and 25 years from approval (2032 to 2047).

    How will the Plan Area be accessed?

    The Plan area will be accessed primarily via Box Springs Rd NW, Broadway Ave NW, and Boundary Rd. Future local industrial roads will be designed at the Outline Plan and Subdivision stages. As development progresses, options to provide On-Demand Transit service to the plan area will be explored by businesses and the City.

    What infrastructure is needed to support the Plan?

    Several infrastructure projects are required to support future industrial growth within the Plan Area. This includes roadway improvements, sanitary system upgrades, water servicing, stormwater management, and potential connections to the CP Rail network. The Northwest Industrial ASP outlines the servicing requirements necessary to support future development of the Plan Area at a high-level. 

    Not all infrastructure in the Plan Area will be built out at once and will be developed in a “staged” approach. Some roads, stormwater, and other forms of infrastructure will be built as needed, in order to allow for early-stage developments to commence. Details for how and when the necessary infrastructure is brought online is supported by a Functional Servicing Report (FSR), which outlines a more refined strategy for bringing these services to the Plan Area. Infrastructure in the Plan Area will be funded in part by new businesses developing within the Plan Area who will utilize these connections for their business uses. For these subsequent plans to be developed the ASP must first be approved.

    If the ASP is approved, what happens next?

    Should the ASP be approved by City Council, the next steps would include rezoning (where necessary), Subdivision, and Development Permit applications, along with detailed engineering studies that are prepared by developers for individual parcels. These more detailed plans and next steps will only occur when initiated by individual landowners/developers of the area and typically do not commence until market conditions require them.