Reader says speak up to protect local water

The public hearing for this is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 11 at 1:30 p.m. at the county office.

Dear editor,

Last November I wrote to local newspapers that the County of Wetaskiwin is proposing to amend their Municipal Development Plan (MDP) regarding the location of new confined feeding operations (CFO) and intensive livestock operations (ILO).  The public hearing for this is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 11 at 1:30 p.m. at the county office.  This public hearing is the only opportunity that we, the public, are given a voice.  We must speak up now because complaining, after the bylaw is amended, will be futile.

As clarification, both CFOs and ILOs are agricultural ventures involving confined animals within a building or certain area (e.g. feedlots, dairy, chickens, pigs, goats). Both require permits. Locations of both are governed by the county’s MDP.   The difference is that a CFO has more animals than the provincial government’s determined threshold number, whereas an ILO has fewer numbers of animals.

Last spring, an applicant for a new CFO (an 800-head goat dairy) requested to council (May 7, 2015 meeting) that the Wetaskiwin County relax their MDP bylaw, which governs “setback from lakes” for locating a new CFO.  The county’s current MDP bylaw (1.4.3b) states “….1.6 km. (1 mile) from Lakes” and this setback creates an environmental barrier to protect surface water from contamination.  The proposed location of this new CFO was within 170 meters of a lake.  But council approved the motion (November 12, 2015 meeting) which could allow the MDP bylaw to be reduced to as little as a 30-meter setback.  Council also suggested that this “lake” was possibly just a “wetland” making the current MDP bylaw not applicable.

Do not be fooled.  This upcoming public hearing is not for approving the location of this goat dairy; this hearing is to amend the MDP governing the future “setback from lake” restrictions of all new CFOs and ILOs throughout the entire County of Wetaskiwin.  The goat dairy application has since been withdrawn and this application has not been my issue with the county.  I am not opposed to new agricultural ventures which adhere to the county’s MDP bylaws, but I am objecting to the process that council has suggested.  Our lakes, wetlands and water courses must be safeguarded from contamination.  To do this the original setback of one mile should not be relinquished.

Speak to your councilor.  The vote of each councilor will determine if and how this bylaw will be amended.  The public has a chance to make a presentation at the public hearing but council makes the final decision. It is these councilors who will decide if the “setback from lakes” will be reduced.

This public hearing will be Thursday, Feb. 11 at 1:30 p.m. in the council chambers of the County of Wetaskiwin.  Speak to your councilor.  Write your letter of concern to council.  Come to the public hearing and have a voice. For more information, I can be contacted at cathy.minchau@gmail.com.

Cathy Minchau, R.R. 2, Millet, Alberta

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer reports 25th COVID-19 death

415 new cases identified provincially Saturday

Alberta Health reported two new COVID-19 deaths in Red Deer Friday. (Image courtesy CDC)
Two more deaths linked to Olymel outbreak in Red Deer

Province reported 356 additional COVID-19 cases Friday

Black Press file photo
Wetaskiwin RCMP execute search warrant; illegal drugs seized

Two Wetaskiwin residents have been charged with possession and trafficking of Methamphetamine.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a news conference in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2020. It’s budget day in the province, and Kenney’s United Conservative government is promising more help in the fight against COVID, but more red ink on the bottom line. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta’s budget promises more help for COVID-19 with a hard deficit

Annual spending on debt interest is closing in on $3 billion

Emily Keeping of Wetaskiwin, Alta., was last seen at 4:20 p.m. on Feb. 25, 2021 at the FasGas on 49 St and 50 Ave in Wetaskiwin. Supplied/ Wetaskiwin RCMP.
UPDATE: Wetaskiwin RCMP seek assistance in locating missing 11-year-old

Emily Keeping was last seen on Feb. 25, 2021 at the FasGas on 49 St and 50 Ave in Wetaskiwin.

A helicopter flies past a mountain near McBride, B.C., on Saturday January 30, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Avalanche warning for backcountry users in North and South Rockies

Avalanche Canada is urging backcountry users to always check their regional avalanche forecasts

Supporters pray outside court in Stony Plain, Alta., on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, as a trial date was set for Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church. He is charged with holding Sunday services in violation of Alberta’s COVID-19 rules and with breaking conditions of his bail release. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Trial date for jailed Alberta pastor charged with breaking COVID-19 health orders

The court says it will reconvene with lawyers on March 5 for a case management plan by teleconference

A pharmacist prepares a COVID-19 vaccine at Village Green Retirement Campus in Federal Way on Jan. 26. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
Canada approves use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine

The country joins more than a dozen others in giving the shot the green light

Sylvan Lake's Winter Village lured many visitors to the town this winter. The town has launched a new contest to attract a new business.
(Black Press file photo)
Sylvan Lake offering rent-free storefront space to lure new businesses

Winning business proposal will get a storefront space rent-free for a year

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP will not trigger election as long as pandemic continues: Singh

‘“We will vote to keep the government going’

Mike Ammeter (Photo by Rebecca Hadfield)
Sylvan Lake man elected chair of Canadian Canola Growers Association

Mike Ammeter is a local farmer located near the Town of Sylvan Lake

Students and staff at Gateway Christian School wore pink Wednesday in support of Pink Shirt Day, a worldwide anti-bullying initiative that was started in 2007. (Photo courtesy of Red Deer Public Schools)
Students, central Alberta community celebrate Pink Shirt Day

Mayor of Sylvan Lake Sean McIntyre supports anti-bullying cause

Most Read