Kneehill County council approved a new policy that allows producers to apply for an exemption to the seasonal road ban requirements. The decision was made at the March 22 regular meeting of council.
The new road ban exemption policy was presented to councillors by Director of infrastructure Mike Ziehr, a process that began months ago when councillors discussed the issue of producers being locked into their property and unable to farm when road bans are declared, particularly in the spring.
“Road bans are typically implemented in the county prior to the spring melt,” stated Ziehr’s report to council. “The bans are put in place to protect the road infrastructure from being compromised or damaged during a time when they are particularly vulnerable.
“Banned roads have the potential to prevent users from accessing their properties along these roads or significantly affect the operations of a farm or business.
“Through the Traffic Safety Bylaw, Kneehill County has allowed permissions for the Chief Administrative officer (CAO/designate) to establish exemptions to these road bans in certain situations.
“At the Feb. 8, 2022 council meeting, council directed staff to develop a policy that provides certain guidelines the CAO/designate would consider when allowing a relaxation to a current road ban.”
The policy makes it clear that road ban exemptions are available for any applicant who meets the criteria, despite councillors discussing primarily producers.
The criteria for a road ban exemption includes a land-locked area surrounded by banned roads, need to use an alternate road due to construction or maintenance, temporary exemptions and agriculture exemptions.
The list of criteria noted that if a location can be accessed by a non-banned road, applicants aren’t eligible for a road ban exemption.
Those seeking a road ban exemption will be required to fill out an application form free of charge.
Councillors unanimously approved the policy as it was presented.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter