Prairie Post (West Edition)

Lethbridge County passes bylaw to re-zone land near Stafford Lake

- BY ERIKA MATHIEU

Lethbridge County council has passed a contentiou­s bylaw which will re-designate a portion of land near Stafford Lake Campground (NE/NW 12-919-W4) from Rural Agricultur­e to Rural Recreation.

Two weeks after a well-attended public hearing was held on Sept. 1, the third reading of the bylaw was passed in a 5-2 vote on Sept. 15.

Following the public hearing, which heard several county residents air their grievances on a number of issues, both related and tangential, to the issue at hand, council opted to table considerat­ion of third reading of Bylaw 22-012 until the next regular council meeting.

Council directed administra­tion to prepare additional informatio­n for the Sept. 15 meeting, including a cost estimate to upgrade surroundin­g road infrastruc­ture. Supervisor of Planning and Developmen­t for the County, Hillary Janzen, told council, “the cost associated with upgrading Township Road (would be) approximat­ely $1.7 million in pavement and $800,000 cement base stabilizat­ion,” and would include the section of road from HWY 512 to Stafford Lake Campground.

The rezoning process was initiated after the owners of Stafford Lake Resort have indicated a desire to possibly expand amenities at the site which would not be in allowed under the current land designatio­n. While the reservoir provides rare recreation­al opportunit­ies in the country, some residents were concerned about future developmen­ts and how issues like road infrastruc­ture, noise, traffic, and dust control would impact residentia­l developmen­ts adjacent to the recreation site.

County Reeve Tory Campbell opposed the motion to carry third reading of the bylaw. Campbell represents Division 2, where Stafford Lake is located. “If I step back and look at this from a value proposal, and the value that it brings to Lethbridge County, I don’t believe that outweighs the potential detriment to that approved residentia­l developmen­t,” stated Campbell.

Coun. Lorne Hickey representi­ng Division 1, also voted against the motion.

Without specifical­ly referencin­g any speakers of the hearing directly, Campbell also added, “I do question some motivation­s, some of the languages used I found quite distastefu­l to be quite honest.” CAO Ann Mitchell agreed council was facing a “tough decision” but spoke in support of Reeve Campbell’s concern with how some grievances had been communicat­ed during the public process.

“We are public figures but we should have it in a civil discourse,” adding, “I think that’s very much missing from today’s society.”

The passing of Bylaw 22-012 is strictly related to the rezoning of the land in question from Rural Agricultur­e to Rural Recreation. Any potential future proposals to expand or develop the land would be subject to the existing developmen­t permit applicatio­n process.

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