Ponoka County denies a pair of land use requests

Land leases turned down in environmentally sensitive area, Hwy 2 ASP public hearing set

A pair of requests on land uses were approved, while two others were denied at Ponoka County council on Dec. 12.

The first rezoning that was approved came from Dean Golley, who applied to have a second parcel moved from agricultural to country residential. The land, located along Township Road 420 near Range Road 241, will now house a relative and was easily passed by council.

The other request approved came from Terry Wright, who wanted to move a 13-acre property located between Highway 2A and Range Road 252 from agricultural to country residential, for the purpose of potentially creating a subdivision development.

Two other requests regarding the leasing of municipal reserve land along the Blindman River in the Kansas Ridge subdivision southwest of Rimbey were voted down.

The new request came from Ken and Ronda Lenart that would have seen nearly all of the public land between the subdivision and the river leased in order to graze some horses.

There were submissions made objecting to the proposal, most concerned about access to public land.

“We are one hundred percent opposed to any individual being able to control this area that was set aside for all of us to use and enjoy. There is a pubic access road that lets us all have access to the river. By allowing these people to lease this land, the access would be gone,” Tim Toews said in a written submission.

Karl Ingenhaag stated in another submission, “My kids and myself use that area to hike around and enjoy. This last summer my youngest daughter caught and released a small pike. It’s a beautiful and quiet area, which I am proud to have in my back yard. So, for this area to get fenced off and filled with cows and horses, is not in my or anyone else’s best interest other than the family asking to rent the land.”

Meanwhile, the lease renewal was from Tim and Shirley Winter and was for the municipal reserve located at the back of their property.

In the end, council denied the requests based on issues raised by CAO Charlie Cutforth and from Reeve Paul McLauchlin

“Typically, where it’s public land, if it’s a use that the neighbours accept and agree to then we have no issue. Where the neighbours and general public do object, then in my opinion it is public land and should stay that way,” said Cutforth during council’s discussion on the subject.

“As well, the minute you lease the land, it can be fenced and access restricted.”

McLauchlin added there will soon be provincial legislation that will take away municipal jurisdiction of land near registered waterways, rendering any leases null and void.

“In the (provincial) land use framework, this will become an environmentally sensitive area and we won’t have anything to do with it,” he said.

Meanwhile, a date has been set for the public hearing on the Highway 2 corridor area structure plan. The revised plan that was approved last month will be up for comment and discussion during the hearing slated for Jan. 24 starting at 7 p.m. in the Ponoka County council chamber.

Year-end work

Public works superintendent Herb Schwingel presented his year-end report along with a purchase request for two new gravel trucks at a cost of $195,000 each. A motion to go ahead was approved and it’s anticipated delivery of the units will be made in March.

Council also approved buying land that would become a new gravel pit for the county. The deal would see the current 250 acre property operating as a gravel pit, located just north of Ponoka near Township Road 432 and Range Road 252A, sold to the county for about $1.8 million.

Cutforth explained it was an opportunity the county shouldn’t pass up on as it would provide approximately 3 million tonnes of excellent gravel, minimize the current truck traffic on the local roads, which would lessen complaints from area residents and not force the upgrading of roads sooner than later.

In addition, Cutforth said the added cost of purchasing the property and dealing with the vast amount of overburden would be offset by not having to pay for hauling gravel from a different county pit.

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