Not impressed with Mulhurst crackdown

I am a homeowner living in the” peaceful” subdivision of Cameron Highlands which is nestled just behind...

Dear editor,

I am a homeowner living in the” peaceful” subdivision of Cameron Highlands which is nestled just behind Pigeon Lake Golf Course in the Hamlet of Mulhurst Bay.

Recently somebody took action against RV occupied lots within the subdivision and exercised their right and filed a complaint to have landowners conform to the county Land use By-laws. Did they do this to enhance more building development on properties, or fear these lots will down grade their property values? Who knows why? Consequently, 11 landowners have been issued notices to conform.

Of the 11 landowners, two are neighbours, one who is 86 and is legally blind and his family, and the other neighbour who is 87 and his family have given 22 and 37 years respectively to create their well-maintained RV retreats. These lots were carved out under the former Recreational Land use by-laws and unknowingly changed to residential in 1995. Witnessing the hurt, frustration and agony imposed on these families has hurt me to the bone as they have been very good neighbours and are good friends.

Since the county is acting on the current situation in our subdivision, they will have to act on others within the community and throughout the county as per their approved proposals. No doubt, this will force the county having to employ additional personnel resulting in added cost to the County and increases in taxes. Mulhurst Bay is a nice, quiet, friendly, community with a laid back atmosphere which is why I chose to retire here. I don’t know if that will now change. Sometimes I wonder why people don’t just mind their own business.

The County of Wetaskiwin residential RV By-law for undeveloped lots requires a development permit only if you commit to build. However, under a development application you can apply for a three-year permit which allows one RV vehicle for live-in purposes, but one time only to allow the building process. If you don’t make the commitment, your lot is classed vacant which allows for 1 RV vehicle as storage only, no live in, no decks, add-ons, no power, water or electrical hook-ups.

The county residential RV By-Law for lots with dwellings allows for one RV vehicle per lot (five acres and under) and this increases for larger (under 10 and under 20 acres), as storage only, no live in, no decks, add-ons, no power, water or sewage hook-ups. It allows for one guest trailer for a two-week period only. Any violations of these by-laws results in major fines.

The residential by-law may be ideal for residents having homes on lots a half acre or less but for larger parcels of land 20 acres or less, it is inappropriate, particularly to sub divisions. It eliminates use of private trailers that may be used for on property usage for family and friends. Also, it restricts the number of guest trailers that a landowner can have at one time which is 1 over a maximum of 14 consecutive days, or at any given time. Gone are the family weekends.

I believe the County has to take a more positive, creative approach rather than the “Build it or Store it” attitude to encourage more development in the area. Subdivisions are providing an alternative for people who want property at the lake but are not in financial position to purchase lakefront . I am all for RV lots in subdivisions as long as they are maintained in accordance to subdivision standards as were my neighbour’s.

I feel sorry for the people affected as their purchases were for family use and possible future development. It appears that most are now in a “Store It or Sell It” situation. Their property will be a hard sell due to the current economical situation and the strict County RV by-law. It’s a situation where these landowners are caught between a rock and a hard place. The landowners have contributed to the economy of the Lake area by supporting local merchants and community events and that will be lost.

There is a Facebook support group page set up by RV owners called “Save Our Summers Pigeon Lake.” It contains information that will be helpful to RV owners.

Ed Schurman, Mulhurst Bay

 

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