Lorraine Robinson, who, along with her husband Glen, own property in the Old Bolin Subdivision at Buffalo Lake, made a request to Stettler County Council at the Aug. 12 meeting that council delay registration of Bylaw 1542-15.
The bylaw redesignated municipal reserve (MR) land along the shoreline of the subdivision to environmental reserve (ER). Robinson was requesting that council wait until the shoreline management plan is completed in 2016 before registering the bylaw.
At that time, council could opt to repeal the bylaw, according to a memo from CAO Tim Fox, however not without substantial cost.
Robinson took issue with Coun. Joe Gendre’s role in decisions regarding Buffalo Lake. Gendre has three sisters that own property on the lake of whom Robinson is one.
Robinson’s concern is that Gendre has a conflict of interest and wanted council to explain why he was allowed to vote on decisions about Buffalo Lake.
Reeve Wayne Nixon stated that it is up to each councillor to declare if they have a pecuniary (financial) interest in a matter or if they believe they have a conflict. The rest of council has no role to play.
According to Jerry Ward, Public Affairs Officer for Municipal Affairs, any disclosure rests solely on the councillor in question. Any failure to follow guidelines set out in the Municipal Government Act (MGA) could lead to disqualification from council.
Coun. Gender, responding to an email, stated that neither he nor other members of council that have siblings who own property at the lake have ever benefited financially from their real estate dealings.
In the MGA section that covers pecuniary interests, siblings are not included in the definition of a councillor’s family of spouse, children, parents or interdependent adult partner.
According to realtor Brian Lynn, who sells properties in the Buffalo Lake area, part of the concern property owners have with the ER is the severe restrictions that the designation places on the waterfront.
Previously under the MR, property owners had more freedom to maintain and use the shoreline in front of their properties. Owners fear that with the ER, any use will be severely restricted, not necessarily by current council, but by future councils.
According to Lynn, the ER designation has already put a damper on the sale of properties in the area with potential buyers uncertain of what new restrictions they may face.
Grover takes on new role
Coun. Dave Grover will take over duties from Coun. Joe Gendre on Buffalo Lake committees.
The agenda indicated that Coun. Gendre wished to step aside as representative to the Buffalo Lake Intermunicipal Development Steering Committee and Buffalo Lake South Shore IDP Planning Committee.
In an email response regarding why he stepped down, Gendre explained that he had approached council about stepping down a month ago from the South Shore IDP.
“At that time, I realized that there were misconceptions and strong feelings that prevented positive dialogue,” stated Gendre in the email.
However, Gendre went on to explain that “administration has erred in the council agenda and added the Buffalo Lake IDP of which I still am a committee member.”
New provider for animal services
Old MacDonald Kennels of Ponoka will take over animal control services for the county after Alberta Animal Services of Red Deer terminated the existing contract, citing the contract was not cost effective.
Peace Officer John Bishop reviewed the costs and policies for animal services from both companies.
Alberta Animal Services was offering a new contract for call outs at a cost of a minimum three hours charged at $100 per hour rather than the previous ‘special rate’ of $100 per hour. Old MacDonald offered $85 per hour charged to actual hours.
Old MacDonald operates as an animal rescue facility with the objective being adoptions where possible over euthanasia.