County offers dust control rebate in 2020

ECA Review/File
Written by Stu Salkeld

Kneehill County’s dust control rebate program will return in 2020 after councillors approved the policy’s return at their regular meeting March 24.

Two councillors, Glen Keiver and Jim Hugo, were absent from the meeting.

Councillors read a report from Brad Buchert, senior manager of Transportation & Facilities, regarding the Policy #13-4, Residential Dust Suppression Calcium Chloride and Spec Crude Product, which was also conducted in 2019.

“The program was designed to provide the residents a better quality of life,” stated Buchert in his report.

Information provided in the report showed 52 Kneehill residents requested the calcium chloride application in 2019, adding up to 187.5 meters that totalled $51,090.

The county offered a 50 per cent rebate for those who requested the calcium chloride before the application deadline.

Buchert’s report also stated one resident had the spec crude product in 2019 which totalled 150 meters and cost $786 plus the rebate.

Councillors were told rates for dust control will remain unchanged from 2019, calcium chloride costing $10.47 per meter with cost share equalling $5.24 per meter which reflects a 50 per cent rebate.

The spec crude will cost $39.35 per meter with cost-share of $34.11 per meter which reflects a $5.24 per meter rebate.

Councillors unanimously approved the policy.

Intermunicipal plans

Councillors passed both second and third reading of the Kneehill and Wheatland Intermunicipal Development Plan.

During discussion, it was mentioned that even if some municipalities don’t pass these plans quickly or at all, they are no longer mandatory under the Municipal Government Act.

Deputy Reeve Faye McGhee stated the plan can be altered later if necessary.

Councillors also decided to delay the IDP process with the Town of Drumheller, specifically the upcoming public hearing. The public hearing was scheduled for April 14, and staff recommended, due to coronavirus measures, the public hearing be rescheduled to a future date to be determined after the pandemic has subsided.

Councillors approved the recommendation.

MPC meeting

Laurie Watt, director Municipal Services, presented councillors with a memo about the April Municipal Planning Commission (MPC) meeting.

“Due to COVID-19 and the increased risk for the virus to spread in public gatherings, administration is taking steps to help limit this exposure to the public,” stated Watt in her memo to council.

“One of the ways to help reduce this risk is to limit the opportunities for the public to meet.”

She noted council had to alter the MPC meeting date because it was already set by resolution.

Councillors decided to cancel the April MPC meeting, but leave the May meeting scheduled as-is for the moment.

Waive the fee

CAO Haugen noted the county received a request to waive the standard $50 fee for using a day-use area.

“Administration received a request from the Rehoboth Christian Ministries asking to use the Keivers Lake Day Use Area four times this summer, during the week without charge,” stated Haugen in his report.

“The Rehoboth Christian Ministries have visited the facility for many years. The group would include around 25 people which consists of clients and their support staff. Council approved this request in 2018 and 2019.”

Councillors approved the church’s request.

Private deliberations

Council moved into a closed session at about 11:50 a.m. to discuss a private matter.

Open house postponed 

Watt also presented council with a request to reschedule an upcoming open house.

Watt stated in her memo staff recommended

“Council move to postpone the Open House for the draft Land Use Bylaw 1808, scheduled for April 2, 2020.

“Administration is not proposing another date at this time, however, we will be monitoring the situation closely and once the risk has been greatly reduced or removed, a proposed date will be considered at that time.”

Councillor Debbie Penner stated the county is still collecting input on the draft Land Use Bylaw (LUB) and invites the public to give input by phoning, the county website or email.

Councillors approved postponing the public hearing to a future date.

Subdivision extension

Staff presented councillors with a recommendation to give a blanket six month extension to all subdivision applications previously approved that will expire in the next six months.

Watt explained coronavirus is throwing a monkey wrench into development plans.

“Once a subdivision has been approved and conditions have been met, legislation requires that the municipality endorse it,” she stated in her memo to council.

“Applicants have one year; however, some conditions cannot be met in the winter months.

Administration has noted that it is becoming increasingly difficult for applicants to meet these timelines due to COVID- 19.

“In order to continue to work with people and to help facilitate some resolution for all parties, we would like to request that Council provide an automatic six-month extension for subdivisions that will be expiring within the next six months.

“Administration is also requesting that council waive the $250 fee required for subdivision extensions.”

Councillors agreed and unanimously approved the recommendation.

Procedure change

County CAO Mike Haugen presented council with changes to their Procedural Bylaw, the rules that govern meetings.

He noted that due to coronavirus electronic means have been considered for council meetings, but a detail exists that needs to be straightened out.

Currently, the bylaw requires a quorum of council actually physically in attendance, allowing other councillors to attend electronically.

Haugen recommended changing that rule so that councillors attending electronically would count towards the quorum.

Both Deputy Reeve McGhee and Coun. Ken King stated they felt the physical quorum rule was important and should be brought back after the pandemic has subsided.

Council approved changes to the Procedural bylaw.

Acme public hearing

Councillors conducted the public hearing for the Acme- Kneehill Intermunicipal Development Plan (IDP).

No members of the public were present to speak for or against the proposed plan, and it was noted by staff no letters either for or against the plan were received either.

The public hearing was closed.

Later in the meeting council unanimously approved all necessary readings to pass the Acme- Kneehill IDP.

Parade season

CAO Haugen presented councillors with the necessary pre-authorization to attended various community parades this summer.

“Every year council participates in the local parades within our area,” stated Haugen in his report to council.

“At this time, administration has brought this forward knowing that council’s attendance may later not take place, or the events themselves may be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic which is expected to go on for several months.”


Stu Salkeld, LJI 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.