LETTER: Ponoka County CFO farmers still have the right to farm

A Ponoka News reader speaks to what Ponoka County’s proposed area structure plan aims to achieve.

Dear Editor,

The Ponoka News has published articles for the past couple weeks covering the Ponoka County’s proposed area structure plans.

Read More: Ponoka County residents divided on farmland uses

Read More: Group starts Ponoka Right to Farm Society

I would like to present the facts and not tell anyone where to live or that you cannot farm.

The Ponoka Right to Farm Society infers that the Ponoka County and those supporting the area plans are anti farming. This is in no way correct.

Some of the following information has been taken from the handout at the information meeting held Aug. 13.

In 1985 Ponoka County asked the Battle River Planning Commission to prepare a plan for development in the Morningside area. The plan was not legally adopted, but it has been used as a guide in all or part of twenty quarter sections. Since then much of this area has been subdivided into residential acreages.

This area consists of a heavily treed area and generally poor soil type (for farming). There has been no overall plan, so landowners are unsure about the development potential of their and their neighbours land, or how unmanaged development allows conflict to arise with others uses.

The area northwest of the Town of Ponoka is under significant development pressure. For generations of farmers it has been an area of traditional agriculture landscape with small family farms.

There has been an increase in large confined feeding operations (CFOs). This sets up the potential for conflict between these uses because of manure spreading, competition for groundwater, and heavy use of municipal roads that were built for lower traffic volumes and weights.

Ponoka County has put forward a proposed ASP (Area Structure Plan) that would manage the further development of CFOs, while still allowing them to continue as is, in the two above mentioned areas within Ponoka County.

Please understand we are speaking about two areas, not the entire county.

The Municipal Government Act (MGA) states that an ASP is adopted after public input. As individuals, there are farmers, ranchers and acreage owners who have given a lot of time, effort and family history to the Ponoka area, who support the proposed ASP Ponoka County developed.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and I encourage you to become involved in this major decision that will impact present and future generations of Ponoka County residents.

More information can be found on Ponoka County website www.ponokacounty.com.

Lynne Martens

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