If regional planning and development is the new way to handle urban growth, then the City of Calgary and sixteen surrounding municipalities want in on it.

"We can't do this alone," said Airdrie Mayor Linda Bruce.

"If we want water for that growth, then we have to be working with the region to provide water for the future. If we want to be moving people around, because no matter how self-sufficient we are as a community, people are still going to Calgary. And we know what that's like every morning and every evening."

The answer to the traffic congestion issue would be a comprehensive regional transit system linking Airdrie, Cochrane, Strathmore, and Okotoks with Calgary. And a regional planning and development strategy would also help to contain urban sprawl, which Bruce said would run out of control if individual municipalities issued individual development permits.

But former Calgary alderman Craig Burrows isn't buying.

"It all sounds great," he said, "and we'll have a lovely little party and ribbon cutting when this is all done. But the reality is, when the first obstacle comes to a public hearing in council, you'll see how fast people fade when the NIMBYs (Not in My Backyard) come in and say we don't want this."

Burrows speaks from experience. He was defeated in the last Calgary municipal election, because, he says, "I tried to tell the NIMBYs this is the way it should be, and they told me, 'I don't think so.'"

But the regional politicians claim they'll press ahead with their development blueprint, which should be ready for implementation by June.

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