Kneehill County responds to rumours
Kneehill County council issued a statement last week addressing concerns circulating online.
The 11-page letter, published in the Three Hills Capital on August 22 and available on the Kneehill County website, covers topics such as development at Horseshoe Canyon, the Churchill Water Service area upgrade, the county’s rural fire strategy, county peace officers, Carbon disaster relief, and the chief administrative officer’s salary.
County reeve Jerry Wittstock says the county prefers not “to do our business in the newspaper” but they felt they needed to dispel what they saw as rumours.
“There’s a group running around who are putting out information that is totally untrue. There are total untruths being floated out there and we wanted to educate our ratepayers and keep them up to speed on what’s happening.”
They addressed concerns from residents about county development at Horseshoe Canyon. A previous council had voted to outright purchase the tourist destination and the current administration “encourages” industrial and commercial development at the site, however, “the county has no information on, or indication of plans, being proposed by developers” but has “discussed the potential development of the Highway 9 corridor above the Town of Drumheller” and “there are no plans for industrial developments alongside Horseshoe Canyon,” the letter says.
The county received criticism for the perceived creation of a new county fire chief position. They say although it had been years since the county had a fire chief, the position existed previously and was unused by the previous council. The current council discussed filling the position again at
council meetings and made the decision during their meeting on February 27, 2018.
There is an organized group of county residents who are currently petitioning for Alberta’s Municipal Affairs to conduct a municipal review of the affairs of the county. They are organized under the Facebook group ‘Urban and Rural Kneehill County’ and have booked a number of petition signing opportunities in community halls around the county beginning this week.
Organizer and former Torrington Fire Chief Mike Bauer tells the Mail the petition had over 700 signatures as of Tuesday and they need 1,000, or 20 per cent of the county population, to enable a municipal review. He says that’s “guaranteed.”
“There’s a lot of concern in the community. We want to make sure that the affairs are taken care of and to show that we’ve got their attention,” he said.
Further coverage will be provided by the Drumheller Mail.