Several new faces can be found sitting around the table when Wetaskiwin county council gathers in its chambers, following the Oct. 16 municipal election; and council has decided to delay discussions on a number of big ticket items until the new year to give a chance for the four first-term councillors to familiarize themselves with the issues.
During the County of Wetaskiwin’s Nov. 1 planning and economic development meeting councillors discussed how to proceed with the county’s new land use bylaw as well as a policy potentially allowing the use of recreational vehicles (RV) during special events.
Council held a public hearing to gain public opinion of the proposed land use bylaw on Oct. 12, but deferred making any decisions as there was the possibility a majority of council that was present for the public hearing would not re-elected — which was the case.
At the Jan. 11 planning and economic development meeting councillors will start discussions on the land use bylaw. This will give councillors time to review the document themselves before bringing their questions and opinions to council.
“I think it would be better if all council sat down and went through it,” said reeve Kathy Rooyakkers. She wants council’s new members to have a good understanding of the document before holding a second public hearing.
“We realized it would be prudent to allow the new council to look at the proposed land use bylaw,” said David Blades, director and planning and economic development.
“The land use bylaw is a 15 to 20 year direction,” said assistant CAO Rod Hawken.
Council also scheduled its discussion surrounding the policy of RV use during special events for Jan. 11.
Coun. Lyle Seely expressed his personal displeasure at the need for such a restrictive policy, saying that 99.5 per cent of the time special events such as family reunions will cause no trouble for the county and it is the other 0.5 per cent that cause the need for regulations.
“I really have a problem being regulated cradle to grave. But it is what it is,” said Seely.
Currently the County of Wetaskiwin has no similar policy and family reunions using RVs are not allowed within many land use zones.
“We don’t want the County of Wetaskiwin to become a free for all,” said Coun. Terry Van de Kraats.
“I know it becomes restrictive but that’s the way our society is today,” he added.
Blades informed council, administration is not looking to have landowners make submissions through an actual permitting process. The policy will require more of a letter of intent structure, which will give the county more flexibility when dealing with applications.