Thursday, November 29, 2012

Town Council Notes November 26, 2012

Toni Lucas

Pincher Creek's Town Council met on the evening of November 26.  In attendance were Mayor Ernie Olsen, Councillors Don Anderberg, Sahra Hancock, Lorne Jackson, Murray Lauder, and Wayne Oliver.  Councillor Roy Smyth attended via telephone.  CAO Laurie Wilgosh was also present.

Housing development concerns neighbours

Randy and Cheryl Handford came to council and presented their concerns about the development at lot 168 plan 2261 jk861 Fredrick Street.  The couple expressed concerns over lack of communication in regards to this development, the house address, setback laws, the basement, and how it impacts their neighbouring property.

Cheryl read a prepared statement that laid out some of the couple's observations regarding inconsistencies with land use bylaws including set back restrictions that they believe have not been followed, and the effort to change the legal address of the property after the building had already begun construction. She also said that "Number 32 of the land use bylaw states:  "At its discretion, the Municipal Development Subdivision Authority may approve a development that does not comply with one or more provisions of this bylaw, if, in its opinion the proposed development would not unduly interfere with the amenities of the neighbourhood.  Or, number two, materially interfere with or affect the use, enjoyment, or value of neighbouring properties".

The couple said they have lost most of the privacy that have previously enjoyed in their back yard because the new development has windows that are higher than the Handford's 6 foot high privacy fence.  They also expressed concerns over the new development being allowed to have a basement in the flood zone.

"From our perspective, the land use bylaw was not followed, and every consideration was given to the development.  The development has negative impact on our investment as well as our quality of life.  The process in which this development was handled is also a concern,"   said Cheryl.

After Cheryl read her statement Randy Handford stated his concerns.  "Was this process conducted with integrity?" The couple said that they themselves looked at buying the lot in question 12 years ago, but declined as the restrictions made it difficult to build the type of house they wanted on the property.  "I've also talked to three or four people who wanted buy that lot since, but they didn't build there, for the same reasons," said Randy.  "It seems to me that everything about this development was after the fact.  Was the process followed, and adhered to?  I would like some documents back, saying it was.  I don't think a pen stroke went across paper saying 'approved', because I haven't seen one yet," he continued.

"The reason we wanted to come here is to make sure that you got our side of the story.  I think a lot of decisions have been made around the table with a lack of information, and a lack of following the process."  The Handfords thanked the council for their time, and expressed that any councillor that wished to could come to their property to see for themselves the impact the development is having on their property.

Waiving of late property tax fees denied

An application to waive tax penalties for late fees on property tax roll #02900000 000 has been denied.  The reasoning behind this denial was that even though there were extraordinary medical circumstances that apparently affected the tax payer's situation, if an  exception were made at this point it would be open in the future for any applicant to claim extenuating circumstances.  Out of respect for the person, and their medical condition this issue was referenced to only by the tax roll number.

Possible Legion handicapped zone discussed

Mayor Ernie Olsen said he was asked to bring up during council that a number of Legion members would like to see handicapped space parking for the Royal Canadian Legion #43, similar to the one recently placed in front of the post office.  Olsen said he will be approaching members of the Legion for clarification of several issues before it will be discussed again.

Some of the questions that arose were:

  • Will this only be a painted access zone, or involve a drop in curb level? 
  • Would it be possible to have a handicap drop off zone to allow more than one customer at a time access?  
  • Would having the parking zone in the back area of the building be a consideration?

A concern that this is a service club that serves a smaller portion of the community than the post office does was mentioned by Councillor Hancock.  CAO Laurie Wilgosh mentioned tripping concerns (if the curb is lowered) as well as the amount of foot traffic this area gets.  Mayor Olsen volunteered to try and find answers to these questions.  The issue was set aside until a Committee of the Whole meeting for further consideration, to be discussed again once the new information is gathered.

Communities in Bloom Tree Dedication

In celebration of National Forest Week Communities in Bloom (CIB) would like to dedicate the large poplar tree in front of what is now the Town Hall to the teachers and students of former Central School that was on the site from 1902 until 1998.  CIB will cover the cost of the plaque.  "It was a big tree when I was a little kid, it's a pretty old tree," stated Councillor Lorne Jackson.  Town Council agreed unanimously.

Recreation Advisory Committee Appointments

John Verhagen, John Hancock and Faith Zachar have each put their names in for a second term on the Recreation Advisory Committee, desiring to sit for another two year term.

AltaLink granted temporary easement

A temporary easment/workspace/access agreement was passed for AltaLink Castle Rock proposed power line, on NE5 7-29-4 subject to AltaLink obtaining approval from the leaseholder.

Report highlights

Councillor Roy Smyth was attending the meeting via telephone due to being in palliative care in Lethbridge, where he said he is undergoing chemotherapy treatments.  He gave his Councillor report first.

"My report will be very small because I haven't been able to do anything with half the month.  I've discussed my long term disability with Ernie, and my role with the Town."

"I'm unable to participate in the necessary budget and committee meetings.  I am most grateful for those of you that have co-operated and filled in for me.  We're just going to go as I'm able to handle it. So, I'm hopeful, but I'm also realistic.  I want to say thank you, and I'll do the best I can do and I really appreciate  the council."

"Thank you Roy, and as a council, I think I can say 'hurry back'," said Mayor Olsen.

Due to Councillor Smyth's potential inability to attend future meetings the following councillors have been appointed as alternates for the committees that Councillor Smyth currently sits on:  Wayne Oliver will sit on the Pincher Creek Foundation, Councillor Anderberg will sit on the Municipal Development and Subdivision Authority, and Lorne Jackson will sit on the Crowsnest/Pincher Creek Regional Landfill Board.

Councillor Lorne Jackson attended the South Saskatchewan Land Use meeting held at the Heritage Inn on November 20.  Jackson said that at virtually every table "There were land use stakeholders, regular citizens, hunters, ranchers, environmentalists and resource based representatives.  The most common thread I saw of most concern to people were the ever increasing pressures being put on our natural area by disrespectful users."  On November 21 Jackson attended a Landfill Association meeting where he learned that "Due to  Chief Mountain Waste Management Facility trucking their extra municipal solid waste here, because of having reached their volume allotment for 2012, and due to higher than anticipated industrial and Elk Valley tonnage, the landfill is set to see a substantial increase in revenue over what was projected for the year.  A new dual purpose building was discussed that would serve both as a recyclables/collection depot and also an equipment shelter." At that meeting it was proposed that the new building be heated with used motor oil, reducing heating bills and being environmentally sound.

Mayor Olsen reported that he attended Metis Week Flag Raising Ceremony (where he learned to play the spoons), and was in the Parade of Lights.  He expressed disappointment that the Reeve and other councillors from the MD council did not attend a joint meeting held on November 19, as the MD called the joint meeting.  He said that the meeting itself went well.  Olsen expressed his belief that everyone would be walking away from future council meetings understanding the financial impacts of their decisions. "If a financial situation comes up, we are going to discuss it at that council meeting.  The council meeting may last a little longer, but if it's on there, and we haven't discussed it previously, we will discuss it that night," said Olsen.

Following the public meeting Council went in-camera with Land and legal matters pertaining to the Emergency Services Commission on the agenda.

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