County of Wetaskiwin council denied a request to increase an access road during a testy exchange at their Sept. 4 regular council meeting.
A presentation was made by property owner Robert Klay regarding an ongoing access issue at SE 17-47-3-W5M.
“I am formally requesting you to come forward as a delegate to council and request that the entire road allowance on Township road 472 west of Range road 34 opened up,” stated Klay’s request to council.
“The current road opening of 235 meters does not allow me onto my land as it is short about 5 – 6 meters.
“Mr. Wheale will not voluntarily move the new barricade back further. I have offered to help him with all work he needed but all was declined.
“I saw that someone had placed a marker where the barricade ended up and I moved it back before the barricade was installed. Disappointing to see that this friendly correction was ignored by Mr. Wheale.
“This is requested so as peace can be attained permanently in the neighbourhood. I will be happy to keep the road allowance mowed up to where I enter my property. The rest can return to a natural state. By returning to a natural state no one will be able to drive down to the creek. It is almost impassable now.
“I am the only neighbour that owns property along this actual road closure, the neighbour to the south is the Province of Alberta (grazing lease).
“Since owning the land for a year and a half, I have been unable to enter the land with anything bigger than a pick-up truck from the very rough north east undeveloped road allowance.
“I cannot overnight on the land as an RV cannot come down this rough approach. Under the county rules for agriculture I am allowed to do so.”
The agenda contained about three pages of correspondence between the county and Klay on this issue.
“I’m six meters away from getting onto my road,” said Klay to council.
Reeve Kathy Rooyakkers stated that most of council had actually traveled out to the area in question to look at the situation themselves. She said it appeared Klay at one point had placed a new fence in the middle of the road allowance, which is not allowed.
Klay said the fenceline is 40 years old and there will never be a road developed there. Klay also said he spoke to a county CPO or bylaw officer who told him no ticket would be written for the fenceline issue because there was “zero chance of conviction.”
Rooyakkers responded that when council visited the site they saw several sea cans and horses on Klay’s property so obviously he was getting access to his property.
Klay said he felt the County of Wetaskiwin plays favourites. “You’ve been supporting Mr. Wheale since day one,” said Klay to the reeve. Reeve Rooyakkers responded, “We’re not supporting Mr. Wheale.”
Rooyakkers reiterated that Klay’s fence must be moved off the lease and back to his property. Klay responded to the effect, “Write me a ticket.” He also stated he wasn’t opposed to settling the issue in court. “I wanted to go to court and explain a brand new road to nowhere,” said Klay.
During debate, councilor Ken Adair stated if the road allowance was made public, anybody can access it and there is a safety issue with a culvert.
Councilor Terry Van de Kraats stated the county previously granted access to Klay and now he was back asking for more. “I think we gave you enough to get into your property,” said Van de Kraats. Van de Kraats said the access in question is not a road, but rather a road allowance and that Klay still has access to his property from the north.
Councilor Lyle Seely agreed with Van de Kraats, saying he saw no reason to change anything.
Klay stated his request for six more meters of access stood firm. “I think we’ll get along if I get six more meters,” said Klay, referring to his neighbour.
Councilors unanimously voted to deny Klay’s request for an additional 6 metres of road allowance from the current road allowance lease agreement with Robin Wheale, as there is legal access along the full east boundary of Klay’s property traveling on RR 34 from RR 473 and on south boundary property of approximately 235 metres (760 feet) west on TWP RD 472 from RGE.