Knee­hill County re­sponds to ru­mours

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

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.

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