County hears tree coverage remains important in rural conservation

Despite concerns recently voiced to the County of Wetaskiwin council, councillors approved the three readings

County of Wetaskiwin No.10

Despite concerns recently voiced to the County of Wetaskiwin council, councillors approved the three readings of an area structure plan (ASP) needed to rezone 52 acres of land from agriculture to rural conservation during their Dec. 8 Planning and Economic Development meeting.

The land in question located at NE 1-45-23-W4M was proposed to be subdivided into three lots for family members of the applicant.

Rural conservation zoning allows lots as small as 10 acres on land that has 60 per cent tree coverage.

The ASP states the three proposed lots east of the Battle River will keep their tree coverage under rural conservation zoning while land with agricultural value west of the river would remain in agricultural production.

One option presented to council was to enter into an agreement with the applicant that they would work to increase tree coverage at the time of subdivision development.

Another option was to relax tree coverage to 45 per cent and allow some of the land to remain clear for hay production.

Opposition voiced at the meeting centered around the county and the Municipal Development Plan standing pat despite requests in the proposed ASP, leaving 60 per cent tree coverage.

The applicant stated he was already committed to that. “The intent here is to ensure tree coverage is maintained,” said Bob Riddett, planning consultant, on behalf of the applicant.