Following a month of questions and concerns, the answer certainly wasn’t what one expected.
Last month, Ponoka County Coun. Doug Weir brought forward an issue of concern expressed to him by area residents regarding the late night activity of silage operations going on in the county. The issue was set aside until administration had time to find out what is being done in other counties and to talk with operators and property owners about the issue.
It came back to council at its regular meeting Sept. 27 where the conclusion was rather simple — make a request that landowners ask the companies they hire to respect the neighbours.
CAO Charlie Cutforth explained to council that there are no other counties in the province that control silage operations or hours.
“That’s not really surprising as most counties don’t have as many intensive livestock operations as we do,” he said.
“The real issue is the hours they operate, but I’m not sure we can go any further with it than what we do now.”
Legislating hours of operation isn’t what Coun. Bryce Liddle wanted to see either, as some farmers questioned him that if that happens they’re worried it wouldn’t be long before they and their combines would be the next targets.
Cutforth didn’t figure that would ever occur, but did state people need to realize they live in the countryside and that the downside of that is sometimes they are going to have to put up with farming activities taking place next door.
In the end, the suggestion was that maybe landowners could request the custom silage operators work near homes during reasonable times when possible.
“My hope is that landowners and the custom operators will simply respect their neighbours,” Weir added.
Tires rolling maybe
The saga with Cutting Edge Tire Recycle continues to crawl forward with the county in talks with their legal counsel and the provincial tire recycling management authority to finally clean up the mess left behind.
Cutforth updated council by stating their lawyer is presently working on getting a removal order for the property, which would allow the management authority to come and take away the program tires they are responsible for. However, he added, the county needs a written request from them first before an order can be issued.
Though there is a problem of finding who to serve the order to as it seems Cutting Edge has fallen off the face of the planet, according to Cutforth, so the county will see where it goes from here.
Council passed a couple of requests, one from administration to upgrade a road access for a proposed new development and one from the residents association of Raymond Shores for an amendment to allow different sized units on lots.
The road access to be upgraded is located off of Range Road 261 at what would be Township Road 432 and would see about one-quarter of a mile built up to county road standard in order to provide a better road for equipment that would be used by the landowner’s contractor. Administration requested approval for the upgrade prior to a development application because of the need to have it done before work begins as well as the job has no major budget or work implications.
The request to amend the lot sizes at the resort community was easily passed, as council made no real change to the actual bylaw, instead choosing to simply spell out and use the actual square footage of 1,056 as the unit size as opposed to the length of the units on the lots.
Council discussed issues surrounding both airports located in the county.
The first was a complaint from a resident about noise from planes coming out of the Ponoka Industrial Airport. Cutforth stated the planes are simply conducting approved activities at an approved airport, but Coun. Mark Matejka suggested the complaint be forwarded to both the town and the Airport Development Board so that a response can be received.
That was followed with council approving a letter be sent to the Town of Rimbey as an offer to take over the land and operations of the airport for $1 and keep it as it stands. This came as a result of the county learning the town has put the land up for sale for $30,000.
Reeve Paul McLauchlin made the suggestion, which the other councillors agreed with, as the airport is a vital part of providing medical care to residents through its use as a landing area for STARS and is also in the best interests of the community that still use it for takeoffs and landings.
The letter is to state the county would take all responsibility for the operations and maintenance along with a reminder that, even if they don’t agree to the transfer, that the county remains the legal authority to approve any potential development of the property.