Skip to content

Cochrane developing in-depth planning process for $10 lots

'It won't be a free-for-all,' says Mayor Peter Politis

The Town of Cochrane has said it wants to ensure residents an in-depth planning process is going into their plan to sell residential lots for as low as $10, starting in the new year.

During a Dec. 12 council meeting, Politis said they plan to section off areas in the community where they see certain standards of homes being built.

“It won't be a free-for-all. Homes just aren’t going to pop up without any standards. There are going to be different subdivisions with different types of homes and then the planning for the infrastructure so that people can understand how well thought out this is and how much detail is going behind this,” he said.

“We've written an overall strategy of what we're doing, so we're modelling the community.”

According to Politis, they have a 400-lot subdivision “that's as close to turnkey as it can be.”

The town’s CAO, Richard Vallée, noted they could sell up to 1,200 lots in year one if they wanted to.

“There's quite a substantial amount of lots that can be serviced easily. And then there's some that might be phased in year two or year three,” he said.

At the same council meeting, Politis and council members received a presentation from Jason Ferrigan of JL Richards and Associate Ltd., who has been hired by the town to help them execute a community improvement plan (CIP).

A CIP is a tool that allows a municipality to direct funds and implement policy initiatives toward a specifically defined project area. Ferrigan said the CIP will take between 16 and 20 weeks and has three phases, with Phase Three expected to be completed by April 2024.

The CIP is a very important tool to help facilitate what they’re trying to achieve, Politis said.

“Overall, we're looking at growing the community, we're looking at the accommodating needs of the regional employers, and we're looking at making Cochrane a launch point to relocate their workforce,” he said.

“The other larger part of the picture here is beyond the employers in the region, Cochrane's looking at a development initiative here, generally speaking. And so employers will be an important part of that, but we're also looking at targeting and marketing folks from around the province, around the country, around the world, quite frankly, to relocate to the municipality.”

The first phase of the CIP will look at land supply, Ferrigan said.

“To understand where your existing vacant legal lots of records are, and importantly, what the servicing capacity of those lots are,” he said.

Once a CIP comes into effect, Cochrane can construct, rehabilitate or improve buildings on land acquired by it in the CIP area. It also gives them the ability to sell, lease, or dispose of any such buildings and land as well as sell, lease or dispose of any land acquired or held by it in the CIP area to any person or governmental authority, Ferrigan said.

“The official plan is like a car and the CIP is going to be the gas, which is going to help you achieve the vision of your community,” he said.

Despite their goal of growing the town, Politis said they don’t plan for the municipality to become a large urban centre.

“Part of the challenge that we have here is in small communities in rural Canada, which is what we're a part of, there's a bit of a nervousness sometimes when you're going into the development side that we’re in,” he said.

“What we need to assure people of is that we’re not looking at doubling or tripling the size of the municipality. It’s not going to become a large urban centre. But we are looking at growth.”

Both the province and municipality have an ongoing housing inventory crisis, Politis said.

“Where Cochrane is unique is we jumped out front and we're now taking the bull by its horns and working the opportunities to try to take advantage of what we see as a generational opportunity here for the municipality and growing it,” he said.

— TimminsToday