Environmental concerns challenge road allowance

Request for a road allowance lease approval led to concerns regarding the environment and complaints of rural partying

Request for a road allowance lease approval led to concerns regarding the environment and complaints of rural partying at Ponoka County council’s Tuesday, March 10 meeting.

Near the 600-meter road allowance — located on Range Road 265, north of Township Road 425 — sits a cluster of trees, which were causing concerns for a few nearby landowners.

Herman Verhoef, the landowner applying for the lease, says he does not plan on removing any of the trees but wants to clear some of the area of weeds so he can farm. “If it is on my land, of course, I can do it,” he said at the council meeting.

Nearby landowner Rosalie Hodges was apprehensive of how removing the trees would affect wildlife in the area. “My concern is the conservation of the flora and fauna that is there.”

She says animals and wildflowers have been disappearing from the area.

Another landowner, Kenneth Maltere, wants part of the area cleared for security reasons. With the coverage the trees provide, he feels younger people will take advantage for parties and irresponsible driving.

“You’re going to get that whether it’s a road or not a road,” Hodges countered.

Maltere also believes the black poplars are not valuable and would support Verhoef in a decision to clear the trees.

Council approved first reading of the application on the matter and it’s now been sent to the Ministry of Transportation for approval. In the meantime, Verhoef has been told he cannot remove any trees from the area.

Country residential hobby farm zoning approved

Ponoka County councillors approved the three necessary readings for a rezoning request for 27 acres from agriculture to country residential hobby farm in one fell swoop at their meeting, despite objections from a consultancy group.

The request came from Dan Brachmann and the 27 acres in question sits on the far side of a parcel near Secondary Highway 792 and Township Road 442.

There is a pre-existing subdivision on the quarter, but the land sits on a reclaimed gravel pit and contains marginal agricultural land.

Alberta Transportation had no qualms with rezoning the land to country residential hobby farm to allow for future subdivision of the rezoned area.

Despite there being no objection from any other party, West Central Planning Agency, a consultancy group, informed the county it could not support the application because it was not consistent with the “subdivision allowed” policies.