County of Stettler council approves ‘trust’ situation for new landfill property

Written by Stu Salkeld

The County of Stettler council approved a position of “trust” for the municipality when it comes to possible expansion space for the regional landfill authority. The decision was made at the March 8 regular meeting of council.

Councillors read a memo from Director of Municipal Services Andrew Brysiuk regarding a possible land purchase on behalf of the Stettler Waste Management Authority (SWMA).
“The SWMA has approved purchasing a quarter section adjacent to the existing landfill for future landfill expansion,” stated Brysiuk in his memo.

“The purchase will be financed from the authority’s reserves and replenished over 30 years. The additional reserve transfer will result in about a $1.50 increase to the per capita rate.

“As the authority is not a legal entity of its own, instead being the result of municipal cooperation, we are looking at options as to how the ownership of the parcel can be handled.

We are drafting an agreement to allow the managing partner (the county) to hold the land in trust for the authority to simplify the land title requirements.”

County Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Yvette Cassidy stated that a quarter of land immediately adjacent to the existing landfill became available and that by purchasing it SWMA could accommodate expansion of the landfill for the next 100 years.

Cassidy stated the SWMA is working on closing that deal which was authorized by the waste management authority board and the lawyers recommended an approach that includes the County of Stettler holding the new property in trust.

Brysiuk pointed out that the County of Stettler, as managing partner, is already in a trust situation with SWMA. He stated the current landfill isn’t owned by the SWMA but rather by all of the municipal members.

Brysiuk stated even though the County of Stettler may hold the new property in trust, SWMA still retains all of the revenues and pays all of the costs associated with it. He noted that by entering into a trust situation for the property purchase the County of Stettler is just a name on a piece of paper.

It was stated at a previous council meeting the purchase price of the property was $800,000.

When asked by Coun. Ernie Gendre where that money was coming from, Brysiuk responded SWMA has its own financial reserves and the purchase price comes from there. He stated the transaction will place no additional financial burden on County of Stettler ratepayers other than usual membership costs for SWMA.

Coun. Les Stulberg stated he was in favour of both the purchase and the trust agreement and commended the SWMA for its wisdom in buying property when it was available rather than waiting for a point in the future when the current landfill is exhausted and the authority may be in a desperate situation.

Coun. Justin Stevens noted land prices are probably better currently than they would be far in the future.

“I can’t imagine what the land prices would be 60 years from now,” said Stevens.

Councillors unanimously passed two resolutions, one to authorize the purchase and one for the trust arrangement.

Stu Salkeld
Local Journalism Initiative reporter
ECA Review

About the author

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld, who has upwards of 28 years of experience in the Alberta community newspaper industry, is now covering councils and other news in the Stettler region and has experience working in the area as well.

He has joined the ECA Review as a Local Journalism Initiative Journalist.

Stu earned his two-year diploma in print journalism from SAIT in Calgary from 1993 to ’95 and was raised in Oyen, Alta., one of the communities within the ECA Review’s coverage area.