We are fully aware of the financial impact on the County’s revenue stream of the impending changes/closure of the Westmoreland Coal Mine and the Battle River Generating Station, and of the high abandonment rate of oil and gas production facilities.
We also understand the benefits of attracting WECS (Wind Energy Conversion System) to the county with regard to the financial contribution they provide.
We have lived comfortably and peacefully in the County of Paintearth for 33 years, plus, with few concerns.
We have always believed that administration and council were interested in protecting the interests of residents and ratepayers, and in upholding the principles outlined in the Code of Conduct, and represented in the Municipal Development Plan.
We believed council when they told us that growth and development included creating an attractive home for young families.
We invited our children to return here to live.
We believed council when they vowed to protect the unique and beautiful natural landscapes this county is gifted with.
We believed council when they invited us to participate in the decisions that would impact our quality of life in significant ways.
In the past eight years, we have watched, first with excitement, then with hesitation, and now with dread as the county council and administration open our county to wind energy developments.
What began as a collaborative process has become divisive and offensive.
Council and administration have willingly turned the lives and futures of residents over to developers like Greengate Energy, Capital Power, and more.
Instead of standing up and fighting to protect the rights of residents and the bounty of this land and environment, council and administration have sold out.
Instead of insisting on compliance with bylaws and the Municipal Development Plan, council and administration have come up with new and creative ways to contravene these standards and to justify their efforts.
The County of Paintearth would rather spend tens of thousands of dollars on high powered lawyers to defend their right to sell us out than to spend one hour working to bring parties together and to find resolution and solutions that would meet everyone’s needs.
When approached with respect, councillors and administration respond with derision and insult.
When presented with facts, councillors and administration deny accountability and choose to hide behind bluster.
We have asked council and administration to stand behind the principles and values that have made the County of Paintearth an enjoyable and prosperous place to live.
We have asked them to honour their own written standards and policies.
The current leadership of the County of Paintearth has assured one truth.
We will choose to leave.
Our neighbours will choose to leave.
Our children and their families will choose to leave.
What was once a thriving and attractive part of Alberta will become all but abandoned, and the council and administration will no longer have to stand before their peers and makeup justification for their actions.
No one will be here to care.
County of Paintearth resident