Mulhurst resident wants more bylaw enforcement

Brian Link tells County of Wetaskiwin council violators can abuse system

Some Mulhurst bay residents want to see much more serious bylaw enforcement in the hamlet this summer, as one man stated violators could intentionally abuse the system.

Brian Link, a Mulhurst Bay resident, spoke to the County of Wetaskiwin’s Planning and Economic Development board, which is county council, at their Apr.12 meeting.

Councilors had a memo in the agenda before the appearance. “On April 4, 2018, Administration received a request from Mr. Brian Link requesting to appear as a delegation in front of Council during the April 12, 2018 Council for Planning and Economic Development meeting, pursuant to Section 7.3 and Section 18 of the Procedural Bylaw 2018/04 of the County of Wetaskiwin,” stated the memo from staff.

Staff noted Link wanted to talk about Land Use Bylaw Enforcement; Introduction of Area of Concern; Timeline for successful enforcement issues; Time frame change request; Enforcement section of bylaw revision; Short term enforcement focus; and Short term camping permitting.

The issue of empty lots inside the hamlet being used for RVs and camping has reared its head over the last several years in Mulhurst, with homeowners claiming RV people are not complying with the bylaws, while RV people claim their rights are being ignored. This is the topic Link wanted to talk about.

He began by telling councilors that the new Land-Use Bylaw has a $500 fine which applies to certain situations involving an RV on a vacant lot, and Link pointed out the ticket might be cheaper than RV storage fees.

He then mentioned that the ticketing timeframe should be expanded; the wording of the bylaw may allow violators to continue their activities because the first ticket has not gone through the court system yet.

Link stated the situation requires constant monitoring to let residents know rules are in place and must be followed.

Assistant CAO Jeff Chipley responded by saying that Link’s concerns are similar to many raised during the public hearing part of the new LUB process. He said issues like the Mulhurst RV one are handled on a complaint basis which has to include limited county resources. Chipley said the county is considering another RCMP officer for the western parts.

Councilor Lyle Seely stated common sense has to be used in non-hamlet situation; for example, he said if someone has an RV on an 80 acre parcel of land, asking them to get a permit is ridiculous.

Link responded that lots of Mulhurst Bay residents have complained about violators and that’s what residents are supposed to do. Link said residents have found the county’s response to be slow and the timeframes involved allow violators to continue what they’re doing.

“Still, they’re trailers everywhere,” said Link. “They’ve run amok.”

Councilor Terry Van de Kraats, chair of the meeting, said the county is not ignoring residents. “We are aware of the situation out there,” he said. Van de Kraats added that the rules are in place and will take some time for everyone to learn them and the county hopes to start to rectify a long-standing situation.

Staff also stated in their memo, “Additionally, in regard to Short Term Camping including permitting options, Council at the March 8, 2018 Council for Planning and Economic Development meeting resolved to direct Administration to ‘develop a Policy with specific timelines for Short Term Camping including permitting options.’”

Councilors accepted Link’s presentation as information.

Stu.salkeld@pipestoneflyer.ca

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