Leduc County debates community standards

Proposed bylaw intends to set community standards, public input sought.

Leduc County’s proposed community standards bylaw is receiving mixed reviews and saw its last public open house on Sept. 2.

Leduc County mayor John Whaley says county residents are using the open houses to voice their opinions and thoughts of the bylaw, as they were intended.

“This is purely getting feedback from our public,” said Whaley. He explained council both wants and needs to hear the ratepayers opinions

“There is no hidden agenda, there are no preconceived decisions,” he added.

The draft bylaw was given first reading June 23. The first open house was held in New Sarepta on Aug. 25, the second was on Aug. 27 at the Sunnybrook Hall and the final at the Leduc County Centre in Nisku on Sept. 2.

“People want to know what it’s about and why. What’s the impact to the residents,” said Whaley.

Council felt there was a need for a Leduc County community standards bylaw that focused solely on unsightly and nuisance properties, as the number of complaints coming into the county has been increasing over the past few years.

Whaley says county staff deal with about 80 to 100 complaints on a continual basis.

“The way we address it, you try to get the collaboration and cleanup,” said Whaley.

He says those early steps work in most cases but not all and council wanted a tool that it could turn to before having to bring in the court system.

During the open house in Nisku, director of enforcement services Clarence Nelson told concerned residents the bylaw is simply a tool to set the same parameters for everyone. He says as the county has no regulations it is difficult to enforce action. “Right now we’re spinning our wheels.”

Ratepayer concerns include who gets the say on what is a nuisance and what is not.

“This takes away our discretion. Right now we have ultimate discretion,” said Nelson.

“We’re not looking to go after people,” peace officer Greg Barker explained.

Barker says approximately 95 per cent of county residents are already in compliance with what the bylaw is looking for; the other 5 per cent are not. Of that 5 per cent Barker says 95 per cent will move to comply with just a conversation.

The bylaw will be able to fast track dealing with properties not in compliance rather than waiting for them to become an actual detriment or even illegal before action can be taken.

Another concern of residents is the bylaw will instead give unhappy neighbours more teeth to their complaints.

Nelson says even when complaints come in there are options and officers want to work with the landowners.

“If you’re trying your best to keep it neat, that’s all we’re asking,” said Barker.

Whaley says many people are still unsure of who exactly the bylaw will affect; another concern. Most farming operations will be exempt. “The problem is the bylaw doesn’t say that.”

“It’s not perfect, that’s why we’re out for public input,” he added.

Following the open houses staff will make a report to council and the comments sheets filled in by the public will be reviewed. Whaley says he expects the bylaw to be before council again later in the fall.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

134 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday

First day over 100 cases since July 31

RCMP Major Crimes Unit lay Manslaughter charge against youth

The RCMP Major Crimes Unit have laid a manslaughter charge against a 13-year-old boy from Maskwacis.

City of Wetaskiwin back to zero active cases

The City of Wetaskiwin currently has zero active cases once again.

1 in 7 Albertans have been tested for COVID-19

56 additional cases Thursday, 1,107 active cases remain in the province

Sylvan Lake man’s documentary getting limited run in Alberta theatres

Scott McDermott’s documentary will be in 14 theatres, including Sylvan Lake and Wetaskiwin

Protestors for Indigenous Lives Matter gather in Wetaskiwin

Protestors for Indigenous Lives Matter gathered in Wetaskiwin, Alta. Tuesday August 4,… Continue reading

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

13-year-old charged in death of boy, 10 in Maskwacis

The RCMP Major Crimes Unit have laid a manslaughter charge against a 13-year-old boy from Maskwacis.

‘Caught up in the frenzy:’ Oilers 50/50 draw breaking ticket sale records

Previous record was held by Toronto Raptors fans when a 50/50 raffle reached $2 million

Alberta jury trials to resume next month at offsite locations due to COVID-19

About 12 locations across Alberta may host the trials in halls, hotels and community centres

Alberta school curriculum to focus on basics, keep out political bias: minister

NDP education critic says the kindergarten to Grade 4 changes should have been implemented a year ago

Statistics Canada says country gained 419,000 jobs in July

National unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July, down from the 12.3 per cent recorded in June

Canada plans $3.6 billion in retaliatory tariffs on U.S. in aluminium dispute

The new Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement that replaced NAFTA went into force on July 1

Walmart to make face masks mandatory for customers across Canada

Requirement goes into effect on Wednesday, Aug. 12 across Canada

Most Read