Ponoka County gives Bluffton project go-ahead

After discussion with the Chain Lakes-area residents, Ponoka County Council has agreed to amend its watershed management plan.

After discussion with the Chain Lakes-area residents, Ponoka County Council has agreed to amend its watershed management plan.

CAO Charlie Cutforth said the amendments relate to the importance of tree cover in steeply sloping land near a lake, environmental reserve easements, which should include penalties for unauthorized disturbance. Subdivisions of less than 80 acres with a slope of 15 per cent or more — and/or within 20 metres of a lake or watercourse — will have an environmental reserve easement.

“I think most people certainly understand the need to protect the lake,” he said.

Another proposed amendment indicates loss of tree cover is a potential threat to the watershed.

Coun. George Verheire feels the county should consider adding this to its regular documents. “Can we not include this into county policies with regard to tree cover?”

Cutforth said there have been some questions on that for other water bodies in the county and consultant Bob Riddett, who is the author of the plan, is investigating how other municipalities deal with scenarios such as this.

Paving changes

Council has agreed to pave an intersection on Meadowbrook Road and Range Road 284. The $272,600 project through Central City Asphalt will pave turning lanes and a passing lane on the south side, explained Cutforth. Approving this project for the fall meant the paving project Bluffton north and west of Highway 20 would start in the spring but would save money while Central City Asphalt is working nearby.

“It saves us mobilizations costs and so on,” said Cutforth.

The other option would be to start work next year but Cutforth and Verheire advised against that as it is in need of paving.

“It doesn’t have to be done this year if we don’t want to do it, but if we just put gravel down on it and the snow plows come…the gravel will just be in the ditch,” said Verheire.

Coun. Paul McLauchlin felt it would not hurt to have the road near Bluffton with more traffic on it for a longer period. “I’d like to see that road get pounded on for a bit longer. The better the base is, makes for a better road.”

Raab visits council

Wrestler Kelsey Raab met with council, who approved $1,000 donation for her trip to Baku, Azerbaijan. She will represent Canada in the Cadet World Championships Aug. 21 to 27.

Raab showed off the jacket she will wear to the competition, which has the Ponoka County logo on the back, and other sponsors.

“It’s been crazy driving back and forth to Edmonton five days a week,” she said of her preparations for the trip.

All councillors offered their support to her including Reeve Keith Beebe. “We wish you all the luck, you’ll do great.”

Public hearings

There were four public hearings for reclassification requests: the first was from Doug and Evelyn Becker to rezone 72 acres to country residential hobby farm from agriculture. Located on Range Road 40 and Township Road 430, Mr. Becker said the purpose was to downsize. “I would like to subdivide that and we’d like to downsize and stay there as long as we possibly can instead of moving.”

Council approved the request.

Another request came from Steven and Karlee Prins to rezone their eight acres to country residential from agriculture. Rezoning would not take away any farmland as it is already on a subdivided property. Mr. Prins has also spoken to Alberta Transportation as the current home is too close to Secondary Highway 604. He plans to move the building and sell the southern area as an acreage or possibly as a rental property.

The request was approved by council.

Councillors also approved a request from J.W. Rodenburg to rezone 15-acres to country residential hobby farm from agricultural. Located on Secondary Highway 795 and Township Road 432, the application states the land is not suitable for farming as 50 per cent is wet swamp.

The last request was from Don and Althea Lewis to split an acreage into two parcels on Range Road 243 north of Highway 53. They want to change it to country residential from agricultural as there are two buildings on the one property. Cutforth said the change would not affect any farmland as it is already with two buildings.

The request was approved.

Land use bylaw request

A request from Alvin Brockhoff returned to council as it was tabled July 17 to give the applicants time to discuss parcel size options. A quarter section of land on Township Road 452 and Range Road 25 was requested by Brockhoff to be split equally among three brothers who had inherited the land.

Brockhoff, speaking on behalf of the brothers, said most of the land is tree covered and they agreed each brother should take an equal share.

The proposal is to split each parcel north and south so as to have access from the east/west road, which Dave Brockhoff feels is safer as it is less travelled than Range Road 25. The request was approved.

Summer Village of Parkland Beach

Council was asked to send a letter to the Summer Village of Parkland Beach, which is working on improving its beach area, stating the county’s support of its application to expand its beachfront.

With recent development in the area, Cutforth feels it is something the village needs.

“They’re just looking for a letter of endorsement for their application to (Alberta) Environment of Sustainable Resource Development,” he explained.

Council approved the request.