Friday, January 27, 2012

MD Council Meeting notes, January 24, 2012

Chris Davis, Pincher Creek Voice

The Municipal District of Pincher Creek No. 9 Council met on the afternoon of January 24, 2012.

Nature Conservancy of Canada
Larry Simpson of the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) made a presentation to Council, explaining what the NCC does.  The NCC is a private, non-profit group that partners with corporate and individual landowners to protect environmentally sensitive areas through the purchase long-term stewardship of those areas.  NCC has been operating since 1962, and at present helps conserve more than 2.6 million acres "ecologically significant" land in Canada.

In Alberta the NCC has been particularly active in the Waterton Parks area, with the Waterton Park Front project.  A half section of land on the boundary of the park was purchased in 1997 in partnership with the W. Garfield Weston Foundation, including Horseshoe Lake, home to Trumpeter Swans, and the hundred or so acres surrounding it. The Flundra family sold a portion of its ranch to NCC and now leases it back for their own sustainable use.  More than 100 square kilometers of land in the Waterton Park front have now been preserved in perpetuity.

Larry Simpson told the council that NCC's goal was to create win-win situations for ecologically sensitive areas and the ranchers that both use them and have become their stewards. "Near the MD of Pincher Creek and Cardston is probably the most vulnerable of those lands along the the eastern slopes," Simpson said. "The challenges are really significant in terms of trying to sustain the larger ranch land bases. If the ranching industry fails, then the land is going to be split up into smaller pieces."  Simpson said the NCC was committed to "preserving working landscapes".  If we can find ways of improving their economic values, then it's a win-win.

Landowner gets reduction in fire bill
MD landowner Tom Toney asked Council brought his concerns over a $3200.00 fire bill he received (click here for more information).

After a presentation by one of his neighbours, and having previously heard from Fire Chief Dave Cox, Council voted to decrease the bill by $800.00 to $2400.00, with Reeve Rod Zielinski and Councillor Rod Cyr opposed.  During the discussion prior to voting, Councillor Rod Cyr thought the bill should be reduced even further.  Zielinski said "The one thing I keep running up against is, if the the permit says there has to be somebody on site, there should be somebody on site."  Councillor Bjorn Berg reminded Council of their obligation to act as Fie Guardians under the law.  "I think it's a critical issue, because there is a legal basis for how we charge," said Berg.

Tennessee Ridge Area Structure Plan passes second reading
The proposed condo development to be located north of Pincher Station (click here for more information)  passed second reading Reeve Zielinski and Councillor Helen Cyr opposed.

"I'm totally not comfortable with the condo style of development there, not just the water system but also the roads," said Zielinski during deliberations, with Councillor Rod Cyr concurring.  "I think the MD will be on the hook (for the roads)," Zielinski continued.  "When I see their roads I know they're going to get drifted in."  MD CAO Wendy Kay cautioned Council that "If you approve the bylaw the way it is today it sends a message to the developer that it's ok."  Councillor Berg suggested Council accept Roland Millican's suggestion of viewing it as a test case.  "If we've got to take a chance, this is it."

Heritage Acres to get gravel
MD Council unanimously approved a donation of 300 cubic yards of gravel to Heritage Acres, including the loan of a loader, provided Heritage Acres arrange for the trucking.

Regional Water
The MD of Pincher Creek has indicated to the Town of Pincher Creek that they are no longer interested in pursuing a joint regional water plan.

New Administration building
Reeve Rod Zielinski was appointed to a committee designed to explore options for the proposed new MD administration building.

Berg gets schooled
MD Council approved the funds required for Councillor Bjorn Berg to take several governance related courses.

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