By J.W. Schnarr
Two free workshops hosted by the Municipal District aimed at helping landowners interested in above and below ground drainage work navigate the approval process were praised by the M.D.’s director of planning and infrastructure.
During a regular meeting, council was updated on the results of the two seminars, held in Vauxhall and then in Taber, by Jack Dunsmore, director of planning and infrastructure.
“The two drainage seminars we had in Taber and Vauxhall were very well attended,” Dunsmore. “I think we had around 20 attend in Vauxhall and about 60 attended in Taber.”
The events were held by the M.D. but featured members of Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (AESRD), Taber Irrigation District (TID), Bow River Irrigation District (BRID) and other government departments involved in the process.
Dunsmore said since holding the workshops, he had received calls from landowners he had dealt with in the past who were looking to have their drainage approvals in order for work they had already done as well as work they were planning to do.
“I’ve heard nothing but positive on it,” said Reeve Brian Brewin. “A lot of people appreciated having (the drainage approval process) explained. You had everybody in the same room, explaining their roles in the process.”
Dunsmore said there is still work that could be done in regards to streamlining the process to make it easier for everyone involved.
“I think they are missing one step on a registration versus approval,” he said.
He also had praise for the role of AESRD during the process.
“In the last two or three years they have done a complete turnaround,” he said. “They are actually there to help now.”
Dunsmore said the Ministry has done some good work in spite of the fact they are very understaffed for the amount of issues they have to deal with.
“I don’t think they have the staff to look after what they say their job mandate is,” he said. “I think they are way too short staffed. We could probably use two or four of them in the M.D. of Taber in the next few years to get everybody’s approvals up.
“It’s twice as much staff as they had a couple years ago,” replied Brewin. “It’s going in the right direction.”
Dunsmore said they are still in the process of working with landowners over drainage approval applications.
“Some of them are going to get a visit, to put it plainly,” he said. “That will be happening fairly soon.”