Kneehill County councillors approved a motion for staff to pursue road allowance closure and consolidation for a portion of Range Road 26-0 to clean up some issues at Keiver’s Lake Campground.
This decision was made during the regular meeting of council April 14, televised on the municipality’s YouTube channel to accommodate COVID-19 social distancing measures.
A report from Barb Hazelton, director of Planning and Development, stated the campground is actually spread over two different titles, along with a building that’s sitting on an undeveloped road allowance.
Staff recommended councillors approve an effort to consolidate the two parcels and clear up the building issue.
“In 2009, the municipality moved a chalet onto the site to be the office for the park attendants,” stated Hazelton’s report to council.
“When dealing with a change of use development application for the chalet, it was noted that the chalet was actually located in the middle of the undeveloped road allowance adjacent to the lakefront parcel.
Since Kneehill County does not own this road allowance, and in order to be in compliance, it is suggested by administration that a portion of this road be closed. This will allow the road to be titled to Kneehill County and consolidated into the lakefront parcel.
Administration is also proposing that the north parcel be consolidated at the same time so the entire campground will sit on one title.”
Hazelton stated the county has received three quotes from surveyors for the work, the lowest being $3,500, plus various registration fees.
Councillors directed staff to proceed with consolidating the Keivers Lake Campground parcels and clearing up the building issue.
Councillors elected to give Kneehill County residents relief on utility bill late payment fees during the coronavirus pandemic. Councillors made this decision after a presentation by Director of Corporate Services Bill McKinnan.
McKinnan noted the provincial government has directed major utility companies to suspend penalties and service cutoffs, and virtually all municipalities are following suit.
“For Kneehill County, the monthly utility penalties are assessed at a rate of 1.5 per cent on any balance 30 days in arrears or more,” stated McKinnan in his memo to council. “Our policy also triggers a service shut-off, once the account is in arrears for 60 days, if payment is not received or a re-payment plan is not negotiated.
“Total monthly penalties average range from $200-$300 per month.
The County bills utilities on a bi-monthly cycle.” McKinnan stated the estimated effect this temporary change would have on county revenues is about $2,500.
Councillors approved not charging late penalties on unpaid Kneehill County water/sewer/garbage billings and outstanding balances for the period April 1, 2020 to June 30, 2020 which includes no cutting off services for non-payment during this period.
Kneehill County approved sending $200,000 to the Town of Three Hills to fund recreation facility upgrades.
The county received a letter of request from the town. The letter signed by mayor Tim Shearlaw stated the request was being made under the Urban Sustainability Grant and would be used for roof and exterior wall repairs at the Three Hills Aquatic Centre.
Councillors approved some community grants to non-profit organizations while denying others after reading a report from county CAO Mike Haugen. Haugen noted two applications for these grants didn’t meet guidelines and were left out of his presentation.
He noted there were four applications that met guidelines, including Three Hills Golf Club ($3,500), Three Hills Minor Baseball Association ($2,000), Kneehill Minor Hockey ($2,732) and Three Hills Early Childhood Society ($5,200).
Coun. Ken King stated he had an issue with the golf club request, as a policy stated no grant would be approved for a municipally-owned asset.
“Is it owned by the Town of Three Hills or not?” asked King.
Haugen said he didn’t know who owns the golf club and would have to report back to council in the future.
Councillors defeated a motion to fund the Three Hills Golf Club but approved the other three requests.
Kneehill councillors agreed to cost-share a road development after a resident requested it.
Brad Buchert, senior manager of Transportation and Facilities, presented councillors with a report that stated at the time the applicant requested help, county policy made such help a possibility.
“June 2018, Chris Arich applied for a cost-share road development agreement to upgrade Range Road 22-5 to access his sub-divided parcel situated out of SW-08-29- 22-W4,” stated Buchert’s report.
“The roadway in question did have a design for access to a well and needed limited grader work and gravel to give access to the property.
A contractor was hired by Kneehill County to complete the road development in 2018.
“At the time of Mr. Arich’s application, Kneehill County policy allowed consideration for cost-sharing (50 per cent) of a road upgrade when a development permit was applied for.
Policies 5-13 and Policy 5-13a that were in effect at the time but are now replaced with Policy 13-39. In March 2020,
Mr. Arich applied for a development permit and now would like to be considered for the cost-sharing of the roadway. Mr. Arich spent a total of $4,540.61 to upgrade the road, therefore the county’s 50 per cent cost-share would be $2,270.31 with funds coming from the operating budget.”
Councillors approved Arich’s request.
Councillors elected to set a date for the county’s public hearing regarding the Intermunicipal Development Plan between the Town of Drumheller and Kneehill County in May. Drumheller council has already approved the plan.
These agreements are no longer mandatory, but many are still being approved.
County staff noted the public hearing can still be held during the coronavirus pandemic if the public submits their comments via email or letters.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter