By Heather Cameron
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The following are selected briefs from the M.D. of Taber Council Meeting on Nov. 14.
Protocol Announcements and Recognition
Deputy Reeve DeGroot reported to Council that Council was given an invitation by the County of Newell to an open house to help celebrate Garnet Altwasser for his induction into the Canadian Agriculture Hall of Fame, as they’re having an open house from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on December 1 at Cassils Community Center.
DeGroot also took a moment to recognize MP employees in the M.D. of Taber region for 30 years. The current honouree, DeGroot said, is Karen Callum and she worked for Martin Shields’ office, Lavar Payne and Monty Solberg, so she has been around for a while and he wanted to formally recognize her for her service, as she has had quite a run, is much appreciated, has always been very good to work with, and is retiring. Callum, DeGroot says, is going to be recognized by Ottawa for her service.
Upcoming Important Dates
Council discussed important upcoming dates: November 23 ADM ASB Town Hall, November 25 is the Vauxhall Chamber of Commerce and Vauxhall Ag Society dinner and dance; November 27 is a virtual meeting with Minister McIver; November 29 and December 10 are Committee of the Whole budget meetings; November 30 is SDA; EMS meeting is November 30 at 2 p.m.; December 4 is the M.D.’s tentative budget meeting; Council Retreat days are on January 29 and 30, 2024; and February 23, 2024 is Talk of the Town. A motion was made to accept the upcoming meetings and events and it was carried unanimously.
Grantham Road Closure
The Manager of Planning, Development, and Lands – Brian Peers, brought to Council a Request for Decision document that the M.D. of Taber approve the closure of an 800-meter segment of Township Road 13-2 directly east of Range Road 15-4 in the Grantham area, and approve Administration to investigate land sales options as a result of the road closure to adjacent landowners based on current market values. Administration explained to Council that the development came to Council from a concerned local, as a potato storage building was under construction there, and so the M.D. looked into it and found it was within the 350-foot intersection site triangle too close to the road. The M.D., Administration said, had discussions with the applicant about how to proceed; the M.D. talked about placing some traffic control mechanisms such as a stop sign or yield sign, but that wasn’t preferable by Public Works and ultimately it came around to the discussion about closing a half a mile of road on Township Road 13-2 which would eliminate the site and incorporate it into that quarter. That process, Administration said, would include hiring a consultant to go through the process of utility notifications, survey, and bylaw development because it has to be closed through a bylaw and getting the permission signed off from the from the government, from the M.D., the Minister of Transportation for that to happen. Administration wanted to know if there was any appetite for Council to close that road. Crofts says that some engagement was done with the neighbours to see if the road should be closed, but there was not concern for the most part because that is a road that is not often utilized except by those who have the half pivot just south of the road and do access that road sometimes during harvest but they also have an access at the pivot center there along the Township Road. Administration stated that if there is a desire to go forward with the road closure that the M.D. would hold a public hearing to discuss the issue and that hearing occur at a future Council meeting. The applicant, Administration said, has also expressed interest and potentially buying and consolidating Township Road 13-2 with their quarter section of land. Administration said it is underdeveloped and there is an oil access road that goes into the southeast of 16. The Manager of Planning, Development, and Lands, Brian Peers, said that the neighbours in the north and the southeast have been talked and they said they have no use for that road if they were to close it other than to incorporate it into their quarter and also said there is an acreage there that triangle-shaped piece that they would rather see that open. So as far as the turnaround goes Administration, said, there would one of the conditions would be that the landowners in the southwest of 16 would have to allocate some land for the turnaround on their property in that dry pivot corner beyond where the oil pipelines are so that would be from the applicant would paying and giving that land up for that turnaround. A big concern from the M.D. was that they had a recommendation from Administration or from Public Works that should they allow that road to remain open that it’s unsafe because if somebody decides to be on it and ends up in an accident because of the site triangle. Another concern Council had was that if they didn’t do the road closure immediately, there could be future issues regarding it. Ultimately, Councillor Turcato made the motion for the M.D. of Taber to approve Administration proceeding with the process related to road closure on an 800-meter segment of Township Road 13-2 directly east of Range Road 15-4 in the Grantham area and approve Administration to investigate land sales options as a result of the road closure to adjacent landowners based on current market values. The motion was carried.
Following the discussion about the Grantham Road closure, Councillor Turcato made a follow-up motion in regards to development permits for agricultural buildings and recommended that Council direct Administration to investigate development permit applications and requirements for all buildings in the M.D. of Taber as part of the land use bylaw. Councillor Hildebrand argued that such a move might be excessive, but it was determined that such a move would bring attention to the bylaw review and it would help staff lead the M.D. in the right direction. According to Arlos Crofts, Chief Administrative Officer for the M.D. of Taber, all municipalities in Alberta adopt a Land Use Bylaw in an effort to guide development within the municipality and the M.D. of Taber is currently reviewing its Land-Use bylaw and this topic has been identified as a topic for review.