Paradise Shores stop order issued

Concerned with safety at the RV Sites Canada Paradise Shores development along Buffalo Lake, the Municipal Planning Commission (MPC) has ordered to cease construction and remove RVs until compliance is achieved.

The MPC issued a stop order to the Paradise Shores RV Resort at a special meeting called by the MPC on Fri. May 17, 2019.

On May 2, the County of Stettler conducted a site inspection at the property to determine compliance with the County’s Land Use Bylaw and DP 18001, issued in relation to a recreational vehicle park.

The County had significant concerns that requirements of the development permit as issued by the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board (SDAB) were not being met.

Both the county and the developer are both bound by the decision of the SDAB. A report from their inspection showed that “it is clear that the property is in a significant state of non-compliance and as such poses an immediate risk to the health and safety of occupants/visitors to the site. The health of the naturalized areas contained within the NE 20-40-20- W4M, and the bed and shoreline of Buffalo Lake are also at risk if the noncompliance is not corrected.”

Risks like public use of an unapproved water system and sewage systems, potential risks associated with incomplete or insufficient slope stabilization, particularly in light of the evidence of slope destabilization and sloughing present, and the lack of accessibility for emergency vehicles were mentioned.

According to the press release, the non-compliance of the property with the SDAB decision has been brought to the attention of the applicant several times during the past few months before any stop order was issued.

As a result of the applicant’s refusal to address the areas of non-compliance, the MPC came to the decision to finally issue the stop order.

The owner and developer are now immediately required to stop developing or use the land or demolish, remove, or replace the development or carry out any other actions required by the notice so that the development or use of the land or building complies with the MGA, the LUB, development permit or subdivision approval.

If Paradise Shores’ developers choose not to comply with this order, the county may be on the hook for costs in order to bring the recreation park into compliance as the money will be added to the property’s tax roll.

The decision to limit the amount of lots on the property was made on Nov. 2, 2018.

Once all of the conditions to the development permit are met, this existing permit would allow the developer to host a maximum of 168 RV sites as the SDAB determined in November 2018.

On Nov. 30, 2018, Paradise Shores filed an application for permission to appeal the SDAB’s decision with the Court of Appeal of Alberta.

By Jan. 23, the judge reserved their decision.

On April 18, the county issued a notice of inspection to Paradise Shores and required Paradise Shores to provide various documents including traffic impact assessment, geotechnical report, approvals from the Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) for water, sewage, and stormwater systems, leases and lessees contact information.

On May 17, the stop order was issued to the Paradise Shores developer and an open letter to affected parties was released.

“The County of Stettler No. 6 will continue to communicate and work with the Developer, with our number one priority being to ensure compliance of the conditions of the SDAB decision which speak to the safety of the development which affects all leaseholders, visitors, staff and contractors. Once the conditions of the SDAB decision are met we look forward to this development moving forward,” noted a news release from the County of Stettler.

Inspection in-depth

The intent of the County inspection was to determine whether the property complied with the SDAB’s original decision to limit the number of lots to 168.

County of Stettler staff entered the area at approximately 9:30 a.m. with the onsite portion of the inspection concluding at approximately 1:30 p.m. on May 2.

County staff were accompanied on the inspection by Mr. Hamm, Mrs. Hamm and Mr. Mikkelborg.

In addition, Hornet Aerial Imaging Corp. was contracted to attend the site during the inspection to gather aerial imagery and elevation data via drone.

A notice of inspection was provided to the applicant on April 18, 2019, and an amended notice was provided April 24, 2019.

The notice required that the landowner provide documentation for a traffic impact assessment, a geotechnical assessment or draft, copies of AEP approvals for the stormwater management system, potable water storage and distribution system, communal wastewater collection system and copies of all Safety Codes Act permits all required under certain sections in the SDAB decision.

These documents along with outstanding leases or license agreements between the owner and persons who will be using the lands as well as contact information for all such persons who have entered into these agreements have not been provided.

“To date, the applicant has not provided any of the required documentation in accordance with the SDAB Decision.” The lack of documentation has significantly limited the extent in which the County can evaluate compliance with conditions of the SDAB Decision. Condition One of the SDAB decision sets a maximum of 168 lots but as of May 2, there were 315 observable lots constructed and 113 trailers located on-site.

Two emergency access points were required but were found to not be “properly constructed.”

Edmonton construction company hired by Paradise Shores files bankruptcy

According to the Alberta Press Leader, the construction company hired to develop RV Sites Canada’s Paradise Shores along Buffalo Lake filed bankruptcy leaving unsecured debt to many Stettler sub-contractors.

Heavy North Construction, based out of Edmonton, filed for bankruptcy protection April 16 in Calgary listing $16 million in debts. Eight Stettler businesses are listed as unsecured debtors with almost $1 million owed to them.

“The economic boom for our town that they were advertising didn’t quite happen,” said Justin Stevens, a strong opponent of Paradise Shores development who owns his own construction company and land beside the Paradise Shores development. “A lot of companies lost money.”

Last year, a spokesperson for RV Sites Canada said the project would inject millions into Stettler and area’s local economy by hiring local contractors and materials from local businesses.

RV Sites Canada was reached for comment, with no response.

RV Site lessees next steps

What can lessees do now that the stop order has been issued?

The County of Stettler sent letters to anyone affected by the work order with details surrounding possible action plans for lessees.

The stop order allows access to the property but only to remove personal possessions including the individual’s RV if it is located there.

No overnight stays are allowed at this time until all of the requirements of the stop order have been met by developers.

 

Terri Huxley

ECA Review

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