MLA Filde­brandt joins Rose­bud fight against mo­tor­sports re­sort

The Drumheller Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Kyle Smylie The Drumheller Mail

Over 100 peo­ple filled the Rose­bud Memo­rial Hall Mon­day night for a town hall dis­cus­sion with Strath­more- Brooks MLA Derek Filde­brandt, who of­fered his lim­ited sup­port in ef­forts to quash the Bad­lands Mo­tor­sports Re­sort project cur­rently in de­vel­op­ment near Rose­bud.

Filde­brandt fielded ques­tions and heard po­si­tions unan­i­mously in opposition to the mo­tor­sports re­sort, after mem­bers of the opposition to the de­vel­op­ment, Save the Rose­bud, in­vited the MLA to ca­noe the Rose­bud river near the pro­posed site on Mon­day be­fore en­gag­ing in a town hall dis­cus­sion with the com­mu­nity.

Filde­brandt, an opposition MLA of the Wil­drose party, only rep­re­sents Wheat­land County con­stituents, who are out­side of the ju­ris­dic­tion of Knee­hill County, where the Bad­lands Mo­tor­sports Re­sort (BMSR) is lo­cated.

“Ob­vi­ously, the process of demo­cratic ac­count­abil­ity here has bro­ken down largely due to the very pe­cu­liar ge­o­graphic lo­ca­tion of the race­track,” said Filde­brandt. The race­track is lo­cated in Knee­hill County, but the landown­ers and res­i­dents who would be most af­fected by the BMSR reside in Wheat­land County, of which Rose­bud be­longs. A show of hands at the meet­ing showed less than three quar­ters of those in at­ten­dance were res­i­dents of Knee­hill County.

“This is first and fore­most a mu­nic­i­pal is­sue... the strong­est com­mit­ment I can make here is to ad­vo­cate. I’m go­ing to sit down face-to-face with the en­vi­ron­ment min­is­ter and make it very clear that I’m sure where my con­stituents sit on this is­sue,” said Filde­brandt, who also promised to speak to Knee­hill County coun­cil about the is­sue. Knee­hill County coun­cil was called into ques­tion by a num­ber of speak­ers for ap­prov­ing BMSR’s Area Struc­ture Plan and pass­ing a land use re­zon­ing by­law at the BMSR site which allows de­vel­op­ment in an area which was pre­vi­ously iden­tifi ed by the county as an en­vi­ron­men­tally sig­nif­i­cant area. “I don’t per­son­ally have an opin­ion on Knee­hill coun­cil – it’s not my ju­ris­dic-

We have a group of peo­ple who is hor­ri­fied by what can hap­pen in our com­mu­nity... We're will­ing to lead our­selves where the gov­ern­ment won't.” Richard Clark Save the Rose­bud

tion and I’m not their boss… it’s vot­ers who hold politi­cians ac­count­able, not other politi­cians. The folks here from Knee­hill, you have a par­tic­u­lar abil­ity to ap­ply pres­sure than those from Wheat­land do. I urge you to hold your politi­cians ac­count­able,” said Filde­brandt.

A group of ad­ja­cent landown­ers to the project rein­tro­duced a plan to pur­chase the land from the de­vel­op­ers at a price they be­lieve will ad­e­quately com­pen­sate Bad­lands Recre­ational De­vel­op­ment Corp., in order to cre­ate an en­vi­ron­men­tal ease­ment area which would en­sure the con­ser­va­tion of the area that is con­sid­ered by the group to be eco­log­i­cally and en­vi­ron­men­tally sig­nif­i­cant. “Three years ago we of­fered to pur­chase the land, and we will of­fer again,” said Wendy Clark, one of the meet­ing’s or­ga­niz­ers and a leader in the Save the Rose­bud group. “We feel with the cap­i­tal gain the pro­po­nent earns on the pur­chase, that they will be com­pen­sated, and they will be able to move to an­other lo­ca­tion and re­al­ize their dream.”

“We have a group of peo­ple who are com­mit­ted to this, a group who is horri- fied by what can hap­pen in our com­mu­nity, who have a vi­sion to pro­tect this val­ley, to pro­tect our en­vi­ron­ment, and who are just a lit­tle bit jaded about de­pend­ing on gov­ern­ment and their rep­re­sen­ta­tives to do it for us. We’re will­ing to lead our­selves where the gov­ern­ment won’t,” said Richard Clark.

A re­vised and up­dated web­site, www.savetherose­bud.ca, was also an­nounced at the meet­ing, and in­cludes nu­mer­ous re­sources and a blog on the tra­jec­tory of the de­vel­op­ment.

The Bad­lands Mo­tor­sports Re­sort is a planned mo­tor­sports track and con­do­minium de­vel­op­ment lo­cated on 525 acres of land about 5 kilo­me­tres east of Rose­bud. The project cost is es­ti­mated by de­vel­op­ers at $400-mil­lion, and re­port­edly is cur­rently the largest pro­posed de­vel­op­ment in Al­berta.

An ap­pli­ca­tion for sub­di­vi­sion was sub­mit­ted to the county ear­lier this year, but was stalled due to Knee­hill County re­quir­ing an ad­di­tional en­gi­neer­ing doc­u­ment, which Bad­lands Rec- reational De­vel­op­ment Corp. said was pre­pared last week and is ready for sub­mis­sion. The project has been in de­vel­op­ment since 2006 after facing nu­mer­ous road blocks and lit­i­ga­tion with Wheat­land County which stalled de­vel­op­ment but have since been re­solved.

mailphoto by Kyle Smylie

At­ten­dees at a town hall meet­ing with Strath­more-Brooks MLA Derek Filde­brandt show their opposition to the planned Bad­lands Mo­tor­sports Re­sort near Rose­bud. Or­ga­niz­ers with the Save the Rose­bud group in­vited the MLA to hear their con­cerns and en­list his sup­port in ef­forts to end the race­track de­vel­op­ment in what they say is a eco­log­i­cally and en­vi­ron­men­tally sig­nif­i­cant area.

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