Friday, March 16, 2012

Lively session at Clearwater County Open House

By Helge Nome

Councillors and staff of the Clearwater County, situated in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in western Alberta, hosted an open house at the Leslieville Community Hall on Thursday, March 15. Intended as an information session for county residents, things got lively during the question and answer session following a beef-on-a-bun meal for the 50+ people in attendance.
Councillor Dick Wymenga chaired the meeting and, following answers given to written questions from the audience, was challenged verbally by several county residents who were unhappy about a recent split county council decision to approve a multi lot subdivision called Meadow Ponds, on a quarter in the Everdell area. While exchanges were, for the most part, civil, several councillors and staff members were involved in explaining the decision to approve the subdivision proposal.
Large subdivisions are always controversial as country people living in the adjacent area feel that their lives will be negatively impacted by an influx of of people that do not necessarily understand the prevailing country lifestyle. From a county planner’s perspective, the idea is to minimize the cumulative footprint of proposed subdivision lots by placing as many as possible into a limited area with communal water and sewer services being a requirement in high density proposals.
The question of creating residential acreages in rural areas is a thorny one across Canada and the long term financial viability of these subdivisions are questioned by many if supporting industries do not emerge over time. There are those who feel that these kinds of developments should happen close to existing population centers, rather than having de-facto part time villages created, scattered around in rural areas.

Councillor Dick Wymenga at the microphone and one less-than-impressed county resident

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