County of Paintearth reviews updated MDP bylaw

Written by Terri Huxley

The County of Paintearth held a scheduled public hearing for the updated Municipal Development Plan Bylaw on Tues. June 15.

This bylaw is set to replace a 17-year-old version of the MDP if it passes all three readings.

It is aimed to focus on the next 10 years of development within the county, setting up plans and guidelines to follow for when development comes knocking.

“The MDP is a statutory document identifying the long-term goals and policy objectives for the purpose of guiding the physical, social and cultural growth in the County of Paintearth.

It is the community’s intent to evolve in a manner which is logical, environmentally responsible, and economically feasible for the long-term benefit of its residents and investors and most importantly, for future generations who will inherit the results of the decisions made today,” states Page 1 of the revised plan.

Before the hearing the day before, Community Services Director Todd Pawsey noticed the draft bylaw was not available online after a request was made from county resident Dwaine Felzien.

Advertisements published in the ECA Review and Castor Advance highlighted that the document would be available on the county’s website for public viewing prior to the hearing

It was decided during the hearing that anyone interested in viewing the document could now view it with a deadline of June 30.

Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Michael Simpson stated that “Anyone can always grab a physical copy. It doesn’t preclude due process.”

He added that anyone interested was still able to grab a copy from the office or by request before the hearing.

Felzien presented his concerns and suggestions to council stating the overlap in guidelines between the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) and the county could open the county up to challenges.

He noted the AUC is changing one of their policies about communication between stakeholder and developer, saying the stakeholder must be satisfied with the proposed solution if there is an issue that arises as a check and balance. He asked if the county could do the same.

Pawsey felt that they would leave this in the AUC’s hands but highlighted the county does have control when it comes to the construction portion of the development such as wind turbines as these companies need to have road use agreements and other documentation in place prior to construction.

If the county is not satisfied with the agreement or find the company is not following the rules, they can revoke the permit which can be detrimental to an operation because if they cannot access the land the project cannot be completed.

The county also deals with the developer post-AUC process.

Gerard and Donna Fetaz also presented, asking some questions about the process for wind turbines in particular.

It was later discovered they were referencing the land use bylaw which was recently passed.

Palliser Regional Municipal Services was contracted as the agency to review and adjust the MDP as needed as.

This job was done on top of their annual requisition received for working with the municipality.

No decision was made by council at this time.

Close session item shuffled

A letter and request from Helen Morel was moved from public matters into a closed session session after administration realized the contents on the matter should remain private.

The County used Section 23 – Local public body confidences of the Alberta Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP) Act, for going into closed session.

The letter pertained to fire protection expenses, asking the county to waive $6,044.50 after supposedly lightning struck her property and started a fire on April 10, 2021.

Council, after their closed conversation, passed a motion to deny Morel’s request.

Baseball funding

The Castor boys baseball team asked council for funding for $500 to be put towards the 15U AA Provincial Ball tournament.

The tournament will take place from August 27 – 30.

Council agreed to give the team $500 to support this competition participation.

Shop theft

One of the county public works shops had some unwanted visitors come into the yard to steal on the morning of Fri. June 11.

It was reported by Public Works Director Bryce Cook that five hooded people – three males and two females – cut the fence and came into the yard in search of tools, catalytic converters and more.

Cook estimated the total repairs and tools stolen would cost approximately $26,000 without labour included.

The county is still in the works if insurance will cover all or part of this cost.

Council asked if there needed to be more cameras or have the sensitivity of the current ones be stronger.

Cook shared he often gets several notifications in the form of an email in the night as wildlife are prevalent.

He added he does wake up in the middle of most nights to check but council agreed he shouldn’t have to all the time as sleep is important too.

“Between all the shops I get 15 a night from wildlife,” said Cook.

 

Terri Huxley

ECA Review

About the author

Terri Huxley

Terri grew up on a grain farm near Drumheller, Alberta with an eye for the beautiful and uncharted. Living in such a unique and diverse area has helped her become the photographer and reporter she is today.

Coming from the East Central region getting this newspaper on her dinner table growing up, it helped her understand the community she now serves.

In May 2019, Terri was awarded Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association (AWNA) Canada's Energy Citizens Photographic Awards Sports Action – First Place as well as first for the same sports action image nationally with the Canadian Community Newspaper Association (CCNA). Fast forward to 2020, she has won second in the same category for the AWNA.