The County of Stettler Agriculture Service Board (ASB) will contact a property owner and ask him to be more accommodating in regards to a gravel pit reclamation. The resolution was made at the Nov. 23 regular board meeting.
The ASB is comprised of members of county council and is chaired by board member Dave Grover.
During the regular report of Manager of Agriculture Services Quentin Beaumont, board members examined photos of the Clement gravel pit located at NE-28-41-18 W4M, which is a non-operating pit that’s in the process of being reclaimed.
Board members, as they discussed the issue, noted the gravel pit in question is currently under examination by the provincial government in order to receive a clean bill of health as being reclaimed.
Board member Les Stulberg asked if the landowner uses the pasture near the gravel pit in the spring, noting photos provided by Beaumont showed very short grass that apparently doesn’t help the county’s case that the pit has been reclaimed.
Stulberg suggested fencing the pit in until the provincial government inspection is finished, thereby allowing the grass to grow out a bit, adding that he’d like the site to be as prepared as possible for the inspection.
Beaumont stated he would contact the landowner in question and request he not graze this land until after the provincial government reclamation inspection, possibly in the spring of 2023.
Board member Paul McKay confirmed the site in question is grazed from May throughout the summer.
Beaumont himself confirmed he was at the location in question himself this past September and a large number of cattle were grazing there while adding that he believed Stettler County leases the entire quarter.
Board member James Nibourg asked who controls this quarter section of land, noting Stettler County is paying for a lease. Beaumont responded that the lease does allow the landowner to graze cattle.
Reeve Larry Clarke, who after seeing photos of the property in question described it as “over-grazed,” stated that if Stettler County leases the entire quarter then the county should have decision-making power over it. He further stated that if the county doesn’t have control over the entire quarter, then those other parts need to be sealed off from the gravel pit.
Nibourg stated if Stettler County has control over the property but grazing is causing problems for the gravel pit reclamation then that should be discussed with the property owner. Nibourg noted the gravel pit reclamation must be completed.
Nibourg further stated that perhaps a “good will agreement” is no longer the answer. “It has worked very well in the past but we’re in a whole new world,” said Nibourg.
Stulberg stated that Stettler County ratepayers don’t want to pay any more leases on a former gravel pit that is quite close to being fully reclaimed.
Board members unanimously passed a resolution that Stettler County staff contact the landowner in question and request that if the land near the gravel pit is grazed that fences be locked in order to allow grass to grow out and aid in the reclamation certificate to be finalized.
Local Journalism Initiative reporter