Unpermitted motocross track denied land rezoning

A County of Wetaskiwn couple who developed an unauthorized motocross track on their land applied to have the land rezoned...

A County of Wetaskiwn couple who developed an unauthorized motocross track on their land applied to have the land rezoned from agriculture to recreational after neighbouring landowners began complaining about the track. Wetaskiwin county council denied the request at its April 14 meeting.

The land included in the request was approximately 78 acres and is classified at 40 per cent soil quality. In the County of Wetaskiwin 30 per cent is considered good agricultural land.

Assistant CAO Rod Hawken says a key part of council’s decision is taking into account the impact the track would have on surrounding agricultural operations.

Nearby landowners attended the public hearing with only applicants Andrew and Erika Branco and Andrew’s father, City of Wetaskiwin councillor Joe Branco, speaking in favour of the endeavour.

Andrew told council he and his wife bought the ag land several years ago with the sole intention of developing the track. He says there is no place in the county for motocross enthusiasts to ride. “We feel like we’re the black sheep in the community.”

Neighbouring landowner Tully Johnson, who runs a cow/calf operation, is concerned how the increased noise and activity of the motocross track is affecting his livestock.

“It’s agricultural land and it better stay that way. It should have never come to this point,” said Johnson. He was not the only one concerned for their livestock.

Kari Albers also owns a cow/calf operation and says the noise has her livestock pushing through fences to get away from the machines. In the past Albers says her family has been able to move among their cattle using quads but now they are so afraid of the vehicles it takes months to retrain them.

Branco Sr. said ATVs are common in the County of Wetaskiwin. “If it does not get passed to recreational my grandsons and granddaughters are still entitled to use that land to ride their quads or their dirt bikes. There’s a lot of farmers here who have quads, their grandkids have quads,” said Joe Branco.

“There has to be a lot of respect here. The recreation and the quality of life for the young generation to come has to be thought of,” he added.

Albers says with the negative effects the track has on her cattle, her children are losing their futures, livelihood and passions. “My eight year old daughter is in our cows every day with us. This is what she looks to spending the rest of her life doing.” Albers added if her cattle cannot safely use their summer pasture there is a chance she and her family will have to move.

Coun. Larry McKeever asked Andrew how many nights a week he was holding races on his track one night per week last year. He also told council he is charging people to come and ride in the races.

“Why did you not look for recreational if that was your intent?” Reeve Kathy Rooyakkers asked.

Many of the landowners said they would not have a problem if the family was just using the track for themselves but with people being invited in they are concerned.

Andrew admitted to council he did nothing in the past by way of holding a community meeting to let his neighbours know of his plans. Rooyakkers told him that would have been a good place to start.

“You’ve already created a track and now you’re asking permission?” James Olson questioned.

Council agreed even with the land not being rezoned the Branco’s should already have gone through the motions for development permits.

“I’m a supporter of the vehicles. I cannot support his location through,” said McKeever.

 

Just Posted

Wetaskiwin RCMP arrest two in Camrose after report of suspicious persons

Fugitives try to flee on ATVS, one allegedly steals police car

Wetaskiwin RCMP Investigate Aggravated Assault

Natasha Bull, 33, has been arrested

County of Wetaskiwin approves small land purchase

Total of $350 worth of land for road upgrade project

Pasta this week with optional sauces

Red or white pasta sauce recipes included

County: Louis Bull Tribe must send us more info

In 2017, tribe requested county taxpayers build $11 million overpass

QUIZ: How much do you remember about Woodstock?

Weekend music festival in Bethel, New York, was held 50 years ago

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

‘It’s just the freedom:’ Paralyzed Broncos player pursuing life on the water

The former Humboldt Broncos goaltender, who started in the net when he was nine, was paralyzed last year

Central Alberta Buccaneers punch ticket to AFL Final

28-20 win over Fort Mac sets up likely date against Calgary Wolf Pack

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

Discussion on grief and loss between Stephen Colbert, Anderson Cooper goes viral

The exchange includes emotional question from Cooper, and outlook on grief as a child

Toronto activist calling on federal parties to nominate more black candidates

Fewer than 20 black Canadians have been nominated so far, including some Liberal MPs seeking re-election

Most Read