The Municipal District of Bighorn is a rural municipality, located on the eastern slopes of the Alberta Rocky Mountains, immediately adjacent to the Banff National Park. Covering approximately 2700 square kilometres, Bighorn is a region of great diversity, and one that encompasses a range of land uses and people. One will find recreationally-oriented lands in the far west, a country residential base in the southern end, agriculturally-based residents in the north and east, and various industries (oil and gas, mineral extraction and processing, logging) scattered throughout. Roughly half of Bighorn's total population is found in the five hamlets located within the M.D.: Benchlands, Dead Man's Flats, Exshaw, Harvie Heights, and Lac Des Arc.
The MD was officially incorporated as a self-governing jurisdiction back in 1988. Since then, it has undergone an annexation by the Town of Canmore in the early 1990's, and a boundary adjustment resulting in considerable expansion in the mid-90's, to todays' situation.
The Municipal District of Bighorn No. 8 is a rural municipality located in a beautiful natural setting. It is characterized by ranching and other agricultural uses, industrial uses, low impact tourism facilities, hamlets, and large tracts of undeveloped crown land reserved for forestry activities. It is recognized that the quality of life of our residents is tied to a healthy, natural environment and a robust economy.
The residents of the MD of Bighorn No. 8 believe that:
i) the MD of Bighorn must balance human development and the protection of the natural environment in a mutually beneficial manner;
ii) sensitivity to the MD of Bighorn's natural environmental setting, and attention to aesthetic appeal should be applied to all developments and their maintenance in the MD of Bighorn;
iii) the historically solid industrial base of resource extraction and processing industries, power generation and other industrial development, should continue to be supported as responsible and economically important contributors; and
iv) this mission statement and the municipal goals can be achieved through co-ordinated planning, public involvement and a commitment to equity, fairness, and consistency by the governing body of the MD of Bighorn.
The Mission Statement indicates, in a broad sense, the direction in which the residents of the MD of Bighorn want to see the municipality develop, and towards which Council will strive. The following goals are adopted in order to elaborate upon the Mission Statement and to clarify the MD of Bighorn's intentions:
i) To address the needs and aspirations of residents of the MD of Bighorn through public participation, and to keep them involved in the planning and decision-making process.
ii) To encourage and support a grass roots approach to decision-making; and to recognize and respond accordingly to the differing identities and needs of the various hamlets and areas throughout the MD of Bighorn.
iii) To make public facility and service expenditure decisions based on maintaining a sound long-term financial position for the MD of Bighorn.
iv) To protect the natural environment. Those areas deemed to be environmentally significant will be given particular recognition.
v) To maintain an attractive social and physical environment for people living and working in the MD of Bighorn.
vi) To recognize regional differences and seek an appropriate balance in the MD of Bighorn amongst agriculture, industry, tourism, other development, and the natural environment.
vii) To recognize the significance of agriculture in the Ranchlands portion of the MD of Bighorn.
viii) To recognize the significance of the resource extraction and processing industries, power generation and other industrial development in the Bow Corridor Watershed portion of the MD of Bighorn.
ix) To direct permitted tourism and other development, to areas where they will not adversely affect the viability of the resource extraction and processing industries, power generation and other industrial development occurring on the north side of the Bow Corridor Watershed.
x) To ensure that the growth and development of municipal facilities and support services are efficient and adequate to support the population and business growth being experienced within the MD of Bighorn.
xi) To cooperate with other governments; municipal, provincial and federal, to ensure that a co-ordinated approach is used in developing and protecting portions of the MD of Bighorn.
xii) To provide and maintain cost effective services and infrastructure necessary to the MD of Bighorn in co-operation with other organizations.
xiii) To ensure that transportation routes within the MD of Bighorn are developed and maintained in an efficient and effective manner.