County residents upset by proposed changes

Leduc County residents voice concern at proposed changes.

At the June 2 Leduc County council meeting a large group of county residents presented their objections to amendments to Bylaw #7-08 – Section 7-19 Home Occupations at the public hearing regarding the bylaw.

The bylaw was proposed by county administration with the goal of consistency and fairness in the establishments of various types of home businesses within the county. The county attempted to have input in the bylaw’s development by holding three open houses, a survey, ads in a local newspaper, and the acceptance of briefs and phone calls. The county received few negative responses during this processes and believed the amendment as presented would resolve many of the issues in the current Bylaw.

One of the resident concerns is the way the amendment is currently structured. Some residents feel it would have a detrimental effect on many of the home businesses currently based in the county. Other concerns included the land size regarding Types 2 and 3, the size of vehicles, the types of buildings and their size, and total number of employees allowed. Those who spoke against the bylaw did not disagree that there was a need to have it but felt the changes being proposed did not truly address the concerns of most residents. Some questioned the need for the changes and wondered why they were being proposed. One spokesman stated, “If it isn’t broken why fix it?” Many were worried that if the amendment were passed in its current form it would result in many home businesses either closing down or moving out of the Leduc County. Those in attendance at the public hearing stated they could not afford the costs related to establishing their business in Nisku Industrial Park and they were worried the proposed changes would make it too difficult to remain within the county if they wanted to remain in business.

Despite the efforts by the county to inform residents of the proposed amendments to the bylaw many residents stated they heard of the June 2 county meeting, that would consider giving readings to the bylaw, at the last minute. Residents suggested the county should send letters to all residents on matters that affect so many citizens and the county also consider evening meetings to allow working residents to attend and express their concerns.

In the end the council agreed to postpone making a decision until the county administration gathered additional information and for more public consultation.