Our Future Valley: Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions: Our ValleyFrequently Asked Questions: Our Valley

The Our Future Valley Team will be updating this FAQs page as we receive new questions.

The Sturgeon Valley is nearly full, in need of connection, and in need of planning certainty. Almost 90% of residential lots have been developed, neighbourhoods are requesting better trail and community networks, and there is a need to offer landowners certainty on the use of their properties while protecting the Valley from the potential of future annexation or undesirable regional planning requirements.

Yes, undeveloped lands are more likely to be annexed by another municipality than developed the lands.  As the Valley is surrounded by expanding cities, Sturgeon County can either guide the Valley’s growth itself and ensure that the Valley’s special features are protected, or risk losing control over time.

Provincial and municipal processes can be a little complicated at times - for our own planning purposes the Our Future Valley effort involves three different bylaws.  These include a broad “Municipal Development Plan” amendment and two “Area Structure Plans” setting the parameters for future development in the Valley “Core” and Valley “South” areas.  While each are different, each will complement one new vision for development in the Sturgeon Valley.

Density is the number of housing units allowed within an area (usually a hectare). A single, detached house, for example, would be one housing unit and a duplex would qualify as two housing units, etc.

Most of the Sturgeon Valley “Core” (where existing neighbourhoods are) has already been developed at a density of two housing units per net developable hectare, with the majority of these being single, detached homes. In newer areas such as River’s Gate, this density is closer to ten housing units per net developable hectare.In the Valley “South” areas (the lands between existing neighbourhoods and the cities of St. Albert and Edmonton), there is currently no development density.

Of note, new areas of St. Albert such as Erin Ridge North average close to 40 housing units per net developable hectare, and in some cases reach nearly 200 housing units per net developable hectare.

No. Proposed policies would not allow such high density development anywhere near existing properties.  If any development occurs near existing properties, it would likely be the same or quite similar to what exists next to it.

No. Existing neighbourhoods in the Valley “Core” will be largely unaffected by new proposed planning policies, other than to explore extensions of walking trail systems and infrastructure upgrades over time. Furthermore, any development that does occur would not be expected for years yet (subject to planning approvals, market requirements, etc.) and be subject to the specific planning policy requirements Sturgeon County is putting forward – these are intended to ensure complementary and well transitioned development.

While change is inevitable, Sturgeon County has ensured that the policy being proposed will protect what exists in the Sturgeon Valley and guard against loss of control over our community into the future. 

Also there are many opportunities for the public to be heard in the process – now and into the future.After this County planning process, developers must create specific neighbourhood land use and infrastructure plans to identify how their proposed lands will align with the County’s planning framework. The developers also need to hold engagements with the public to present and refine their plans prior to submitting them for formal review, public hearing(s), and County Council vote.If a development plan is approved, there are further requirements for developers to submit subdivision and development applications which have their own review and engagement processes as well.

No – Sturgeon County operates on a ‘growth pays for growth’ philosophy, and works to ensure that development is done in a responsible and sustainable manner. 

Developers are responsible for all of the on-site infrastructure (roads, water, sanitary lines, etc.) that are constructed within the subdivision and are required to contribute to off-site infrastructure (roads, water, sanitary lines, etc.) through levies based on the size of their development.  Other municipal services would be extended by the municipality over time, using the revenues collected from the new developments as well.  

If you already live in the Valley, you can expect very little change aside from more trails and access to greenspaces. Current subdivisions will continue to be regulated by the current land use district and vacant lots will be developed consistent with the current look and feel of the neighbourhood. Those living closest to any new development areas could notice some change during and after construction, but for the most part development near them will look very similar to what they already know.  In the areas far from the current residents of the Valley near the cities of St. Albert and Edmonton there will be more development, people, and traffic, but there would also be supportive infrastructure and services in these areas.

Planning in the Sturgeon Valley has been ongoing for over a decade, and recently Sturgeon County has led a large-scale public engagement process.  This public engagement, began late fall 2020, and has included a dedicated webpage (sturgeoncounty.ca/OurValley), a postcard sent directly to every residence in the Valley, public engagement sessions, sessions with County planning officials, sessions with area County Council members, presentations at public County Council meetings, presentations at regional EMRB meetings, and an email newsletter. The engagement was also advertised on road signs, in local newspapers, on social media, and through direct contact.  To date, hundreds of landowners, residents, and other partners have contributed to the proposed plans and offered their visions and comments.

The next step of the planning process is a presentation to County Council on July 13, 2021, where administrative officials will present the results of public engagement to date, updated planning policy recommendations, and a proposal to send the plans to the regional planning Board for review.Following that process, the planning policy and bylaws would come back to County Council for a vote in late summer/early fall 2021.

More Questions?

If you have any questions about the Sturgeon Valley project that are not addressed above, please let us know at ourvalley@sturgeoncounty.ca.