County of Wetaskiwin council decided to offer a standard road allowance lease after the leasee stated new rates for the land rental make the deal less attractive. The issue was discussed at the general council meeting Nov. 26.
Staff noted in the agenda package that recent changes to road allowance leases included contacting leaseholders about new rates. “Brian, Robert & Debra Reid currently have a road allowance lease (RAL) located on the north boundary of their property NW 36-45-26-W5M (File 5630-19-4),” stated the staff memo.
“Due to recent changes to the Road Allowance Policy 12.0.4, correspondence was sent out to expiring leaseholders to let them know of the new fee schedule and requested confirmation that they wish to proceed with a further 3 year lease.
“The Reid’s new lease would be $80 per year based on 4 acres; for a total of $240.00 for the term.”
However, the staff memo pointed out the new rates didn’t necessarily mean the lease opportunity was attractive for the Reid family. “Mr. Reid contacted administration advising that he uses this RAL for grazing purposes only; and further that he only runs a few cows on the pasture,” stated the staff memo.
“The ditches are steep and a creek runs across the east end. He also sprays for weed control on the leased area which would cost him very close to the amount of the new lease fees and questions whether the costs outweigh the benefit.
“Mr. Reid is requesting Council’s consideration to consider the costs of weed control as payment of the lease. If Council is not in favour of this proposal, Mr. Reid is requesting a one year lease in order to give him time to move the fence.
“Alternatives Considerations include: 1. Policy 12.0.4 was just recently approved by Council (June 2019). 2. Setting precedence by deviating from the policy. 3. County cost to maintain (i.e. weed control). 4. Landowners on the SW 1-46-26-W4M may be interested in leasing.”
Councilors unanimously agreed that Reid be offered a one year lease on N/NW 36-45-26-W4M at a rate of $20 per acre as per Road Allowance Closure for Lease or Sale Policy 12.0.4; and that the landowners of SW 1-46-26-W4M be approached to inquire if they are interested in leasing the property; and further, if no interest is received that this road allowance be maintained as per the 3 year roadside spray program.