Angry landowners surrounding Calgary are protesting a draft regional land-development plan that they say infringes on their property rights.
The Calgary Metropolitan Plan outlines land and water use over the next 70 years and encompasses Calgary, the T'suu Tina First Nation and several outlying communities including Okotoks, Cochrane, Priddis, Bearspaw and Balzac.
The plan has sparked outrage from residents who fear they will lose control of their land and water access.
J.C. Anderson, an oil veteran who runs a ranch south of Calgary near Spruce Meadows, said many people from many different communities are angry because there was little public consultation before the plan was drafted.
"It sort of places the destiny of the M.D. [municipal district] residents and landowners in the hands of city council. It's just madness, and that's basically what this thing does," he said. "Your land can be frozen from development. And if, as, and when it's developed, it will have to be developed on the densities the city requires."
Rick Butler, the executive director of the Calgary Regional Partnership behind the plan, said the goal is to manage long-term growth.
The population of the region is expected to grow by 1.6 million over the next 70 years and something has to change, he said.
"The status quo, or the trend scenario, could not continue. It wasn't affordable.The regional landscape could not handle it and the environment would be ruined, and all that we are here in the region for would be gone," he said.
The decisions will be made on consensus or by "super majority" vote, which would require 12 out of 17 members to agree, along with one-half of the region's population.
Protesters rallied outside the Okotoks Centennial Centre on Wednesday night prior to a meeting that the M.D. of Foothills was hosting to update residents on the Calgary Metropolitan Plan.