By Stu Salkeld The Pipestone Flyer
The County of Wetaskiwin has turned down a resident’s request to alter the Land Use Bylaw to allow for caretaker permanent dwellings.
The item was heard at the Jan. 10 Planning and Economic Development Meeting. “On July 16, 2018, Administration received a letter from Ted Reimchen requesting a delegation regarding amending the current Land Use Bylaw in order to apply to construct a ‘caretaker’ dwelling on his lot, located within NW 10-47-24-W4M, Plan 0420254, Block 2, Lot 3 in Bluebird Estates subdivision,” stated the agenda memo presented to councilors by Director of Planning and Development David Blades.
“The proposed amendment would be only to the Country Residential (CR) land use district. The caretaker would specifically be for yard maintenance rather than personal care as result of medical conditions.”
It was noted in the memo and by assistant CAO Jeff Chipley that councilors, after hearing Reimchen’s presentation, told staff to prepare a draft policy to allow for this request.
It was stated during the meeting that Reimchen stated his health prevented him from caring for his property, and thus required a caretaker present on the property.
Blades noted the county used to have a somewhat similar policy for someone living on-site for health reasons, but there had been issues so that section was removed. Blades also stated the Land Use Bylaw must be included in this and a policy of this kind should include a letter from a doctor explaining why the caretaker was necessary.
Chipley pointed out that, as noted, a similar policy for medical caregivers had been removed because of problems but now this proposal looked at allowing groundskeepers despite the fact there are private businesses in the area that offer these services.
He noted the policy applies to everyone, not just Reimchen and if the policy was approved caretaker residences could pop up anywhere that met the criteria. Chipley stated the county would have to monitor these to make sure they’re meeting the criteria.
Councilor Dale Woitt wondered why a groundskeeper had to live on-site. “I’m wondering why the caretaker has to be there 24-7,” said Woitt. Woitt said legitimate health concerns are understandable but the option to hire someone to come in and take care of the property is there. Woitt also stated Reimchen has the option of having a suite in his home for a caretaker.
Councilor Kathy Rooyakkers said she wasn’t in favour of a stick-built home, but also noted there didn’t appear to be room on the parcel in question for a mobile home.
Councilor Bill Krahn asked his peers, if this policy was approved, how many of these caretaker residences are going to pop up?
Councilors decided not to proceed with the caretaker policy and that staff should let Reimchen know of their decision.