Wetaskiwin County debates unsightly property

Wetaskiwin County CAO Frank Coutney says the county received complaints regarding an empty lot.

After refusing to follow council’s direction on an unsightly premises matter, a landowner in Buck Lake will have a $300 bill added to their taxes.

Wetaskiwin County CAO Frank Coutney says the county received complaints regarding an empty lot and the bylaw support the complaints.

“This is just for them not cutting the grass it looks like it’s an empty lot,” said Reeve Kathy Rooyakkers.

“We did get a bill from a contractor for doing the work. It was $300,” Coutney explains. He added a lot of calls had been received from concerned residents who felt the long grass was a fire hazard.

While the work was already done and Rooyakkers says the county needs to recover it’s costs, members of council feel the bylaw may need a going over in the future.

Rooyakkers added, in this incident, while not all of council feels it was a premises worthy of the bylaw, fault cannot be put on the bylaw officers. “They’re doing what we told them to do.”

“We’re going to follow based on a complaint,” said Coutney.

Coun. Keith Johnson feels, in the future, council should spend it’s time and resources on cases worse than long grass. “Tall grass I don’t feel is an issue. If you compare this to places where you’ve got 40 vehicles, I don’t see that this really compares.”

Coun. Larry McKeever also feels council should be focusing on on more serious situations. “We spent a lot more than $300 going out there. That’s what bothers me.”

“But this isn’t an agricultural parcel, it’s a hamlet,” said Coun. Garry Dearing.

He added he feels council is beginning to micromanage and it should trust the bylaw officers are handling complaints according to how council set the bylaw.