Urban standards vs. rural standards

Recently Leduc County has been reviewing a bylaw designed to establish community standards for the entire county.

Recently Leduc County has been reviewing a bylaw designed to establish community standards for the entire county. Each time the county administration presents a proposal they soon discover that a particular group of residents have some major objections to the proposal. At a recent county meeting a long time resident asked a series of questions and provided an insight that capsulated the county’s problem with developing a bylaw that would address everyone’s concerns.

His questions revolved around why the county was considering establishing standards that seemed to reflect more urban standards that rural? He used the issue of noise and gave an antidotal story of a farmer, who was combining, being stopped by the police and informed that they had received a complaint about the noise from some of his neighbors!

It is not that either standard is wrong it’s just that they have been established to address the different needs of each area. Urban standards would include bylaws regarding noise or zoning for businesses, which could be a major problem for folks living in rural areas.

Rural residents aren’t surprised when combines and grain trucks are going 24/7 until harvest is done or tractors moving slowly on secondary roads as a farmer moves his equipment from one field to another. It is not unusual for a farmyard to contain much more than just a home. It is also the base for farm machinery, often the site for a farmer’s winter job, be it welding or some other profession that requires either work in the yard or the storage of equipment like semis, it also may serve as the site for a greenhouse run by the family.  All of these activities are quite common in rural areas but all would have trouble meeting the standards in an urban environment.

Leduc County is finding it difficult to establish a set of community standards that meet both the concerns of residents that have moved into the various estates around the county while maintaining established standards for agricultural based community members. It is a problem that the City of Edmonton isn’t even aware of as they attempt to annexation a large section of Leduc County.

We have already seen how well Edmonton has thought out the closure of the city airport, the extension of the LRT to NAIT, and plans to encourage the development of higher density construction. How well will Edmonton be able to address the concerns of farm families living close to the airport or east of Devon that Edmonton states will not be affected by the annexation for the next 30 or 50 years? How can they say this when the minute the annexation is approved, as presented, those families immediately lose the access to agricultural grants now available through the county? How can they say it won’t affect them when immediately their children become part of either the Edmonton public or separate school system with all the questions of how their children’s educational needs will be met? How can they say this when immediately their concerns about crime is transferred from the RCMP to Edmonton police with a city council that has already hesitated about meeting the costs associated with annexation regarding police and fire services! How can they say that when Edmonton’s community standards immediately becomes theirs?

Edmonton continues to press for an all or nothing annexation. They state that the majority of residential growth, in recent years, has been to the south as a principle justification of the proposal. So why did the city concentrate on the land along the Queen Elizabeth highway and the airport and land affected by the air patents of the airport?

In the past Edmonton’s annexation proposals allowed the city to increase its residential zones that were close to the city borders and many of the new residents had jobs in the city. Their adjustment to urban standards was minimal. However, their attempts to annex large industrial areas like refinery row or the Acheson Industrial Area were not successful.

Currently the city and county have had a number of meetings to exchange the reasons why or why not the annexation should proceed as proposed. The city seems determined to justify why the proposal needs to be approved without any adjustments and the county continues to show why the proposal will do serious harm to the county’s ability to provide its citizens with the same level of services they currently receive.

The debate as to the reasons why Edmonton’s wish to grow entirely to the south will continue for the next few years until the provincial government decides the final outcome. In the meantime the County of Leduc will continue to look for a negotiated solution in establishing a community standards bylaw that meets the concerns of all its residents and try to do the same thing in its negotiations with the city.

Opinion column by Tom Dirsa.

 

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

Just Posted

Alberta has 3,651 active cases of COVID-19. (File photo)
432 new COVID cases sets another record Friday

Central zone holds steady at 126 active cases

"We are looking seriously at the spread and determining what our next steps should be," says Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, as the daily number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb.
427 new COVID cases is highest in Alberta ever

Central zone has 126 active cases of COVID-19

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Temporary COVID-19 testing sites coming to Wetaskiwin and Ponoka

The Wetaskiwin location will open Oct. 23, 2020 and the Ponoka location will open Oct. 29.

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
City and County of Wetaskiwin reporting active cases

Both the City of Wetaskiwin and County of Wetaskiwin have active cases.

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw updates media on the Covid-19 situation in Edmonton on Friday March 20, 2020. nbsp;Alberta is reporting it's highest daily number of COVID-19 cases, with 364 new infections. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta confirmed 323 COVID-19 cases Tuesday

Central zone active cases at 145

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)
VIDEO: One day until B.C. voters go to the polls in snap election defined by pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan’s decision to call an election comes more than a year ahead of schedule and during a pandemic

This photo provided by Air Force Reserve shows a sky view of Hurricane Epsilon taken by Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter team over the Atlantic Ocean taken Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020.   Epsilon’s maximum sustained winds have dropped slightly as it prepares to sideswipe Bermuda on a path over the Atlantic Ocean.  The National Hurricane Center says it should come close enough Thursday, Oct. 22, evening to merit a tropical storm warning for the island.  (Air Force Reserve via AP)
Hurricane Epsilon expected to remain offshore but will push waves at Atlantic Canada

Epsilon is not expected to have any real impact on land

A voter places her absentee ballot in the ballot box, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, at Merrill Auditorium in Portland, Maine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Robert F. Bukaty
American voters living in Canada increasingly being counted in presidential race

The largest number of Canadian-based American voters cast their ballots in New York and California

A composite image of three photographs shows BC NDP Leader John Horgan, left, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Sept. 25, 2020; BC Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau, centre, in Victoria on Sept. 24, 2020; and BC Liberal Party Leader Andrew Wilkinson Pitt Meadows, B.C., on Sept. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck, Chad Hipolito
British Columbia votes in snap election called during COVID-19 pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan called the snap election one year before the fixed voting date

Nunavut's provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, on Tuesday June 30, 2020. The annual report from Nunavut's representative for children and youth says "complacency and a lack of accountability" in the territory's public service means basic information about young people needing services isn’t tracked. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Nunavut’s young people ‘should be expecting more’ from government services: advocate

‘The majority of information we requested is not tracked or was not provided by departments’

Ryen Williams, 11, with a lost miniature horse at JJ Collett Oct. 23. Photo by Don Williams
UPDATE: Owners found

Father and son found him while out for a walk at JJ Collett

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

U.S. border officers at the Peace Arch crossing arrested two men on California warrants this week. (File photo)
Ottawa predicts system delays, backlogs unless court extends life of refugee pact

Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places to seek protection

Conservative member of Parliament Michelle Rempel Garner, left to right, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and Conservative Deputy Leader Candice Bergen arrive to hold a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No-confidence showdown over sweeping Tory motion on government handling of pandemic

The Conservative motion is to be put to a vote Monday and has the support of both the Bloc Québécois and NDP

Most Read