Community standards are a good thing

Community standards bylaws are good things; that’s why they’re so common.

Some Leduc County residents are up in arms over the municipality’s proposed “community standards” bylaw and what appears to be an “urbanization” of the rural area. Anyone who lives in the suburbs around Edmonton must accept the fact that many homebuyers who have the financial means  don’t necessarily want to live in the city. They want the country life.

Community standards bylaws are very common, and virtually every urban municipality in Alberta has something on the books akin to a “good neighbour” bylaw that tends to embrace the philosophy that “the right of your fist ends where the right of my nose begins.”

Community standards bylaws are good things; that’s why they’re so common. Those bylaws, in some communities, govern things like soft-shelled garages, loud parties, property maintenance, snowy sidewalks, abandoned vehicles and unsightly premises. Most residents in the community want such bylaws in place so that don’t have to listen to all-night parties, walk through knee-deep snow on sidewalks or see dozens of rusty vehicles stacked up in yards.

However, it is important to keep not just community standards, but community tradition. Municipalities such as Leduc County that are developing such bylaws must remember this is a rural area, including families that have farmed here for decades.

Recently, “the right to farm” movements have cropped up as some rural residents felt their lives or livelihood were under assault by droves of suburbanites moving onto acreages. While Leduc County seems to be conducting an excellent public consultation right now to gather input on their proposed community standards bylaw, councilors should keep in mind at all stages the agricultural roots of the municipality.

It probably also behooves any urban residents moving out to Leduc County to keep the same things in mind. If you’re thinking of moving to the county but you don’t like dusty roads, the sound of farm machinery early in the morning or the smell of bovine manure wafting into your yard, you should probably rethink your home-buying philosophy.