Stettler County MPC approves boat lifts, docks storage for Buffalo Lake

Stettler County’s Municipal Planning Commission approved a plan for lift and dock storage at Rochon Sands Aug. 25. ECA Review/Screenshot
Written by Stu Salkeld

The County of Stettler’s Municipal Planning Commission (MPC) has approved a plan for some residents of Buffalo Lake to store boat lifts and docks for the winter.

The development permit was approved at the Aug. 25 MPC board meeting.

Director of Planning Services Jacinta Donovan presented councillors with a development permit application from the Rochon Sands Community Association (RSCA) that would allow members of that group to store boat lifts and docks on nearby environmental reserve (ER) property for the winter.

“The RSCA on behalf of its members has submitted a development permit application to provide for the private storage of lifts and docks in designated areas on environmental reserve lands adjacent to the Rochon Sands Heights subdivision,” stated Donovan’s report to the board, comprised of members of county council.

“The Rochon Sands Community Association is proposing to manage the private storage of docks and lifts on the ER land by means of permitting and a ‘tag’ system.

The community association has obtained contact information for landowners requesting private storage of docks and lifts on the ER as well as proof of $2,000,000 liability insurance.

The information collected to date was submitted to the county with the development permit application.

A ‘tag’ system is proposed to be implemented as a means of identifying the property owners of items stored on the reserve lands.”

At the meeting Donovan stated the association had gathered 16 requests for space that also included photos of the lifts or docks. Donovan stated not all of the permits were included in the agenda package because of personal information.

She noted, after a site visit the week of Aug. 23, the majority of docks and lifts are still in Buffalo Lake and a follow-up inspection will be conducted in October to ensure they’re tagged for permit.

Donovan stated photos would be taken of the stored lifts and docks at that time.

Donovan’s report noted the county previously approved the idea of the community association spearheading this proposal for a one year period.

It was stated in the application that the program would apply only to lifts and docks and excluded boats, boat houses, sheds or any other item or structure.

RSCA representative Julie Ruttan spoke to the board and noted the association has a tracking system to keep a record of who is doing what. She noted that three more residents wanted to be part of the program, boosting it up to 19 and also added that residents have to be members of the association to be part of this program.

Board member James Nibourg stated the purpose of ER is to protect the lake environment, that trees and rocks protect the shoreline and if residents respect that then programs like this will benefit everyone.

However, Nibourg stated if trees are cut down that may not help such programs.

Board member Ernie Gendre suggested photos be taken of the ER shoreline before this program begins so a record exists of what things looked like beforehand.

Board member Larry Clarke asked if liability insurance is a requirement and Ruttan stated “Yes.”

County planner Rich Fitzgerald suggested a limit be placed on how many lifts or docks can be placed by each resident to ensure there is room for everyone to participate in the program. Nibourg stated that would be a good detail for the association to keep an eye on.

Board members unanimously approved the development permit application.

Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative 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.