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County of Wetaskiwin council rejoins lake stewardship group in non-financial position

Alliance of Pigeon Lake Municipalities looks to brighter future
File photo

The County of Wetaskiwin has not been a member of the Alliance of Pigeon Lake Municipalities (APLM) since late 2013. However, that is changing.

Although the vote was not unanimous, county council has reversed a previous council’s decision to remain a non-member of the APLM.

The decision came during council’s March 13, 2018 general meeting.

Councillors Lyle Seely and Terry Van de Kraats were opposed to rejoining the organization.

Reeve Kathy Rooyakkers says in the past the group has struggled with organization and adhering to the confines of how it can operate, legislatively. She added, recently, APLM had reorganized and is working to operate along clear guidelines.

“I’d like to see us join,” said Rooyakkers.

APLM consists of individuals and municipalities surrounding Pigeon Lake, whose initiative is to share in the responsibility of the lake’s health. APLM is comprised of representation from Leduc County and the summer villages of Sundance Beach, Itaska Beach, Argentia Beach, Crystal Springs, Golden Days, Grandview, Ma-Me-O Beach, Norris Beach, Poplar Bay and Silver Beach.

On Dec. 3, 2013, the council of the day provided notice to the APLM advising it was withdrawing its membership.

While the County of Wetaskiwin has denied several times requests to rejoin APLM — and the Pigeon Lake Watershed Alliance — the county remained in communication with both groups, largely through presentations to council, for the best interest of Pigeon Lake.

“What does it do for the county of Wetaskiwin? How does it affect us in a positive way?” Van de Kraats asked council, questioning the county’s need to rejoin APLM.

“This group has a history of not changing,” he added, explaining he feels the communities around the lake should try harder and step up to effect change rather than coming to the county with financial requests.

Prior to council voting to rejoin, Van de Kraats made the motion to deny the request for membership. The vote was 5-2 against the motion with only Seely and Van de Kraats in favour.

“They’re looking for a magical pill to make the lake better. I just don’t see value in the committee itself,” said Seely.

Rooyakkers wants to strengthen the council’s relationship with the municipalities surrounding the lake, as the modernized Municipal Government Act mandates intermunicipal development plans and intermunicipal collaborative frameworks between neighboring municipalities.

“Shouldn’t we have a voice in our community?” said Coun. Dale Woitt, who was in favour of the county rejoining APLM.

“I don’t know what we’re afraid of,” he added.

As it was in the past, the county will hold a non-fee membership with no mandatory financial obligations to APLM.