On April 21, 2017, County of Wetaskiwin councillors held a public forum in Mulhurst Bay to listen to public concern over the RV land use bylaw. File photo

Wetaskiwin county defers land use bylaw decision

Tempers remain high over RV controversy

Decisions regarding proposed changes and updates to the County of Wetaskiwin’s land use bylaw were deferred until a November planning and economic development meeting.

Council’s decision came following a lengthy public hearing on Oct. 12. Several councillors felt not enough changes where discussed during the public hearing to give them the comfort to pass three readings that day.

The Oct. 16 election also posed some challenges. To move forward with the first reading on Oct. 12 would have taken away any potential new councillors’ ability to have a say in the second and third readings, as they would not have been present for the public hearing. Coun. Keith Johnson was also not present for the hearing and Coun. Larry McKeever was not seeking re-election.

Process states a the majority of councillors who were present for the public hearing must also be present for subsequent readings to pass the bylaw.

While many proposed changes to the land use bylaw were up for discussion during the public hearing the majority of the gallery in attendance was there to speak to the county’s recreational vehicle (RV) land use bylaw.

A public forum was held April 21, 2017, for members of the public to address county council and provide possible solutions they believed would help the alleviated the RV issue in the county. On June 8, 2015 councillors decided no changes would the made to the RV policies put in place in 2015. While discussing proposed amendments to the land use bylaw on Sept. 14, 2017, councillors decided to hold to that course of action.

Members of the public on both sides of the issue remain unsatisfied with how council has handled the situation.

David Blades, director and planning and economic development, says the county’s land use bylaw accommodates the use of RVs in some form in almost every land use district.

An RV policy for unit use during special events such as family reunions has not been drafted yet but is is a priority for the county’s future.

Concerns and anger voiced during the public hearing were similar to what councillors heard during the public forum last spring.

Public opinions were voiced over: the lack of RV policy training provided to frontline county staff, the money that will be lost by people who developed RV lots but do not want to or cannot afford to build permanent residences, council’s direction of a bylaw being opposed by so many members of the public, council’s actions limiting the population of recreational communities during economic downturn, the displeasure of the complaint based enforcement model, the deaf ear council is turning to peoples’ concerns, the confusion created by previous county land use bylaws, lots owner and buyers who did not read the bylaws before purchasing property, and the public desire for a grandfather clause — which is not being approved by council.

Prior to 2015 RV use was not included in any land use bylaw, which automatically means they are not a permitted use. “You cannot grandfather something that was never allowed,” said Coun. Lyle Seely.

“I don’t think this council or this county is anti-RV,” said Seely.

Reeve Kathy Rooyakkers says the solution people wishing to use RVs on country residential land can look at is rezoning.

While spot rezoning is not what council has in mind groups of lot owners within subdivisions who all agree they can live in or near RVs can apply to have that larger section rezoned.

One member of the public stepped forward to inquire if RVs could be used when a landowner is staying on-site to check the security of their property.

Assistant CAO Rod Hawken says if in a district that supports RV use a landowner can submit an application for short-term camping. However, that is not applicable if the district does not allow RVs, such as urban commercial.

amelia.naismith@pipestoneflyer.ca

Just Posted

Wetaskiwin RCMP investigate theft of almost $140,000 in Millet

Wetaskiwin RCMP respond to past break and enter at a rural Wetaskiwin property

Writer says ‘New Debt Party’ needs to come back to reality

New pipeline projects doomed to failure if government involved

Wetaskiwin man facing charges after allegedly impersonating war veteran

Wetaskiwin RCMP lay charges for unlawful use of military uniforms/certificates

Public benches getting standard in Millet

Town council will receive report on standardizing benches

Former Green Party candidate’s Holocaust denial sickening

Monika Schaefer on trial in Germany for denying history

VIDEO: Trudeau shuffles familiar faces, adds new ones to expanded cabinet

Justin Trudeau shuffles his front bench Wednesday to install the roster of ministers that will be entrusted with leading the Liberal team into next year’s election.

Airdrie man charged after Taser-like weapons seized

Canadian Border and Airdrie RCMP charged a man after an attempt to bring the weapons into Canada

Innisfail RCMP charge woman in connection with seizure of eight dogs

Karin Adams, 46, of no fixed address faces dozen charges

Ontario, Saskatchewan premiers join together to oppose federal carbon plan

Saskatchewan is already involved in a court case over the tax

Sylvan Lake is moving toward a greener town

The Town of Sylvan Lake is moving forward with a contract with Fogdog Energy

After cave rescue, soccer boys pray for protection at Thai temple

On Wednesday evening, the boys and coach were released from hospital

Gymnastics sex abuse victims join hands, accept courage award at ESPYs

The women who spoke out against the abuse by Larry Nassar stood together Wednesday night

WATCH: Red Deer’s Westerner Days kicks off to a smoking hot start

Thousands take in the food, entertainment, rides and more at Westerner Park

Most Read