Alix village council has granted a resident’s request to build a garden on public property but will also require a $250 damage deposit in case taxpayers have to clean it up.
The final decision was made at the June 2 regular council meeting.
Village Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Michelle White presented councillors with the results of a previous delegation to a May council meeting.
At the previous meeting, Alix resident Tyson Beebe had asked council’s permission to build a garden on the municipal reserve (MR) land located at lot 24 block 1 plan 792 2552, described as being in the “new subdivision” at the very end of 49th Ave.
Council passed a resolution granting Beebe’s request to build a residential garden subject to terms and conditions in an agreement drafted by administration.
White stated she used as a basis for the agreement a similar document dating from the 1990s when a previous council granted a similar request to a different person.
However, she noted she made one change: the 1997 agreement required a $1,000 damage deposit, which White stated she felt was too much, and instead cut it down to $500.
White explained the damage deposit would be required to cover the taxpayer’s costs if the MR garden is abandoned and has to be cleaned up by the village and returned to grass, which would require re-seeding.
The CAO stated she sent the draft agreement to Beebe but he balked at the $500 deposit.
“Mr. Beebe emailed the CAO regarding the amount for the damage deposit and asked that it be lowered to $100 or $200,” stated White’s memo to council.
“Mr. Beebe also contacted Mayor (Rob) Fehr to discuss the damage deposit.”
Coun. Ed Cole agreed with Beebe, while noting he felt $250 was a fair amount for said deposit.
Cole asked if the agreement could include a warning that if a clean-up in the future costs more, Beebe could be billed for it?
White stated no, the only recourse the village has in such situations is to transfer the debt to the tax roll, and the Municipal Government Act (MGA) wouldn’t allow that in this situation.
When asked if Alix council had ever had other, similar requests. White answered no, other than the 1997 request, which was the only one she could find a record of.
Coun. Barb Gilliat, Coun. Vicki Soltermann and Mayor Fehr agreed the $500 deposit was too high.
Fehr stated the spot in question doesn’t appear to have “high-end grass” in the first place and he felt $250 for a deposit was more than fair.
Councillors unanimously agreed to change the draft agreement to require a $250 deposit that would be returned to Beebe if he no longer uses the MR garden and follows other agreement conditions, including keeping the garden looking tidy, mowing grass on the lot, removing debris after each gardening season and re-seeding grass if he chooses to stop gardening on the site.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter