The County of Wetaskiwin has decided to remove pedestrian bridges in the Bayview subdivision which encroach on environmental reserve land.
The decision was made at the Planning and Economic Development council meeting July 11.
In July of 2018, Administration received a complaint in regard to the unauthorized grooming and placement of structures on the Environmental Reserve (ER) that is adjacent to the Bayview Subdivision, which is located on the northwestern shores of Buck Lake.
Upon investigation of the complaint by Administration in adherence to Action 188.8.131.52 of the 2018 Strategic Plan of the County of Wetaskiwin as approved by Council which states “Be reactive to bylaw enforcement issues, with proactive enforcement in the neighbourhood after first complaint.” and the associated Task which states “Conduct patrols in the County in response to complaints with the focus being on Municipal & Environmental Reserves”, it was determined that there were several unauthorized developments including bridges, as well as significant grooming and modification of the Environmental Reserve.
These unauthorized developments and grooming are prohibited under the following pieces of pertinent legislation as set forth by the Government of Alberta and County of Wetaskiwin Council as follows: Municipal Government Act (MGA) ‘676(1) Subject to section 676(1), environmental reserve must be left in its natural state or used as a public park.’ Several other requirements were also listed in the memo.
The staff memo noted certain property owners in the Bayview subdivision were notified almost a year ago about the bridge problem. “Therefore, on August 21, 2018, Administration followed through with the strategic direction of Council as contained within Action 184.108.40.206 of the 2018 Strategic Plan by sending informational notices to all property owners in the Bayview Subdivision,” stated the memo.
However, a delegation was made to council last winter about the issue. “After the issuance of the Notice, at the November 8, 2018 Council for Planning and Economic Development Meeting, Council heard a Delegation presentation made by Mr. Charles Andrews regarding the Bayview Subdivision Environmental Reserve,” stated the agenda memo.
“Council resolved to ‘accept Mr. Andrew’s presentation as information and table discussion in order to enable Council to conduct a site inspection to get a better understanding of what Council is discussing and for Administration to provide additional information in regards to shore high water mark, water body, water table, access and environmental reserve jurisdiction and clarification and to provide to Council at an upcoming meeting.’”
Councilors passed the following resolution regarding the bridges: “That Administration move forward with enforcement action as outlined in the August 21, 2018 Notice, including the removal of the existing bridges as it is believed that this may set a precedent for other subdivisions within the County and there is public access to the lake through the Environmental Reserve lands. Residents should come together as a community to approach the County should structural improvements be contemplated.”