Tempers flare among residents at RV bylaw public meeting

County of Wetaskiwin looking for suggestions on RV restrictions

County of Wetaskiwin staff and council at the RVC meeting in Mulhurst Bay Apr. 21 (from left): assistant CAO Rod Hawken

With a recent public forum the County of Wetaskiwin continues its plan to seek resolution and a land use bylaw for recreational vehicle usage in the county that both RV users and home owners can be happy with.

It was a full house at the Mulhurst Bay Community Centre on April 21 as residents came to voice their opinions to council and county staff as to why they did or did not agree with the county’s current bylaw.

“County is not presenting any solutions tonight, we’re here to listen,” said reeve Kathy Rooyakkers.

“It is imperative to get all the input from everyone in order for council to make an informed decision,” she added.

The atmosphere of the meeting was testy, and those standing to address council were often interrupted and heckled regardless of which opinion they were presenting.

More home owners and RV users from the Mulhurst Bay area spoke than those from Buck Lake, and the number of people representing RV owners seemed to outweigh permanent residents in attendance.

County of Wetaskiwin assistant CAO Rod Hawken addressed the crowd to provide a little history of the issue and explain why some portions of the bylaw are in place.

According to the Provincial Safety Codes Act Alberta Building Codes recreational vehicles are not considered residential buildings.

“Land use bylaws cannot authorize a use that is not allowed by federal or provincial legislation,” said Hawken.

Zoning, property size, and setbacks are factors in how recreational vehicles can be used throughout the county.

Hawken says noise, fires, parties and garbage are where many of the community concerns come from, not the RV use itself.

“The county does not wish to ban or remove recreational vehicles,” said Hawken. He explained the county’s goal is to have compliance with the land use bylaw.

County administration responds to issues on a complaint basis.

One Mulhurst Bay permanent resident says they feel the county is pitting home owners and RV users against each other with the complaint-driven model and would like to see the bylaws better enforced, not necessarily after a complaint is made.

The county employs two bylaw officers and four peace officers. Rooyakkers said there is not enough enforcement staff to see every issue without help. “We’re not trying to pin neighbour on neighbour,” said Rooyakkers.

A Buck Lake resident also stood to voice issue with a perceived lack of enforcement and says they feel RVs in the area are being used as decoys so people can avoid paying taxes.

Another from the Buck Lake area said they have concerns with “labelling,” leaving RV users vulnerable. How people conduct themselves should be looked at and not what they live in.

Safety code rules were also brought into question; if RVs in residential areas cause concern why are they allowed in closer quarters in campgrounds?

One RV user from Mulhurst Bay says if those safety codes are the case then campgrounds are “ticking time bombs.” They informed council they do not feel the bylaw reflects reality. They also added the bylaw is not conducive to family reunions and other gatherings, and that RV owners are treated like second class citizens.

A presentation by a representative from the Mulhurst Citizens Group outlined many homeowner concerns as being: bylaw non-enforcement, improper use of property, decreased land values, and other safety concerns.

The definition of short term camping was also questioned, as campers can stay for 14 days, pull out for one day and come back for another 14 days. The purpose of the rule left some audience members mystified.

Multiple RV owners mentioned the business summer residents bring to the Pigeon Lake area and how communities would suffer without the patronage of RV users.

One Mulhurst Bay home owner stood to say they had safety concerns with the number of non-permanent people living in the community.

While the county held the community meeting with the goal of hearing solutions from residents many used the opportunity to air their grievances. However, a handful of suggestions were made including: enforcing green-space barriers between lots, using the RV as a tax opportunity, changing the 14 limit and grandfathering RV users that were in the community before 1995.

The County of Wetaskiwin is be accepting comments on the matter, via mail or email, until April 30; county council will be discussing the land use bylaw in a public meeting on May 11 in council chambers.

 

Just Posted

High speed thrills for media at racetrack

NASCAR Pinty’s Series Luxxur 300 media day at EIR July 16

Mexican recipes for Dora’s Kitchen this week

Tasty enchilada recipe has two types of chilies

Field scouting in July

Field scouting can lead to more successful crop production

Alder Flats 4-H Multi Club Report

4-H kids visited aerial park in Edmonton

Wind, wet lodging crops in fields

By Ponoka News Staff The rain may help with moisture concerns but… Continue reading

VIDEO: Bystander training gains traction as tool to prevent sexual harassment, violence

Julia Gartley was sexually assaulted after an event, and no one stepped in to help

Sexual assaults, extortion on the rise even as crime rates stay low: Stats Canada

Rates of police-reported sexual assault rose for the fourth year in a row

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Buccaneers pillage Irish 36-0

Central Alberta bounces back after off week against Wolfpack

Sexual harassment complaints soaring amid ‘frat boy culture’ in Canada’s airline industry

‘It’s a #MeToo dumpster fire…and it’s exhausting for survivors’

How much do you know about the moon?

To mark the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing, see how well you know space

Most Read