Ponoka County continued its support of the Fort Ostell Museum. Keith Beebe moved the council contribute $3,000 to the operating costs of the museum and it was carried unanimously.
Council voted not to contribute to the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation’s 17th annual Cattle Round Up. The feeling was money would be better suited contributed on a local level.
Reeve Gordon Svenningsen moved that Ponoka County contribute $250 to the two provincial soccer tournaments being hosted by the Ponoka Minor Soccer Association. The motion was defeated.
Ponoka County has received 24 subdivision applications and 71 development permits.
“There continues to be quite a bit of activity and we have a number of pending subdivisions that are in various stages of development,” said CAO Charlie Cutforth in his development and subdivision report.
Council decided to proceed with an outline plan regarding setbacks around Chain Lakes. Coun. Keith Beebe made the motion and it was passed unanimously. The plan will look at the area surrounding Chain Lakes and determine what setbacks are acceptable for confined feeding operations surrounding the body of water.
Don Cook, who applied last October for re-zoning to allow for a 10-acre subdivision on an 80-acre parcel southeast of Ponoka and was denied, requested the one-year waiting period be waived for resubmission. Cook has changed the size of the acreage on the land from 10 acres to three. Council voted to waive the mandatory one-year waiting period believing the application had been substantially changed enough to be resubmitted.
The county heard two rezoning applications.
The first from Betty Demers who was looking to reclassify a parcel of land from agricultural to country residential to allow for subdivision of the rezoned are into four lots.
The county reviewed a letter from Marc Tremblay and Virgina Mayo opposing the request. They stated in their letter, “We object to the approval of the amendment request.”
Further explanation provides several reasons for opposing the request including: loss of privacy, a reduction in the quality of life, it would affect their ability to farm and reduction to their property value.
Ponoka County chose to deny the request.
The second application came from Shunda Consulting and Construction asking for land around Gull Lake to be rezoned from agriculture to country residential. The area had been designated as prospective residential development within the East Gull Lake Development Plan.
In their application, Shunda stated, “The contour of the land is ideal for panoramic hillside view of the lake and limits the area that farming is possible…The soil quality is of lower quality (class 3 and 4). Groundwater supply is deemed to be appropriately abundant for low density development.”
Coun. George Verheire had a problem with the number and size of lots and how it would affect sewage disposal. He would like to see larger lots and proposed the idea of building a lagoon to store sewage waste.
Jack Fraser was at the public hearing and was worried about runoff from the development that would end up on his property.
“I came to see how many lots,” said Fraser. “For the runoff that comes off that quarter probably half of it comes to my place and I have a fish farm and I don’t want to see my fish die.”
Beebe recently attended a meeting about water quality and had some restrictions for the proposed rezoning applications.
“They showed how you could dig near Pigeon Lake and down a foot there was sewer under there and not water because it travels a long way. After getting all this information the only way I will support it is if they have pump outs or this new modern technology,” said Beebe. “Otherwise were going to turn Gull Lake into a sewer.”
County had a tie vote on the request and therefore the motion was lost.
Samson opens lines of communication
Coun. Holly Johnson of the Samson Cree Nation and president of Samson Management Ltd. addressed council regarding communication and co-operation between the three entities.
Samson Management is looking at initiatives in Hobbema, including a courthouse that will be built in Ponoka County’s area.
“We will be working on constructing a water and wastewater pipeline for the future courthouse. It isn’t pertinent to the courthouse but other facilities that have water and sewer system areas. The infrastructure in this area isn’t adequate,” said Johnson. “The costs of the infrastructure will be about $500,000.”
The meeting was a starting point for opening the lines of communication between each side.
“I would like to see more engagement from the county with the First Nation,” she said.