Kneehill County council granted a three-year subdivision extension to Badlands Motorsports Resort during their regular council meeting on Tuesday, September 22.
Badlands Motorsports Resort (BMR), located near the hamlet of Rosebud and within the boundaries of Kneehill County, previously received approval for development with certain conditions applied, which was due to expire January 30, 2021.
“We feel with the current economic conditions, extenuated by the coronavirus situation, the road construction commencement date of September 15, 2020 is difficult to meet,” Badlands Motorsports Resort development manager James Zelazo stated in a letter to Kneehill County dated September 7.
In the letter, Zelazo requested the council consider granting a one-year extension until January 30, 2022.
No limits are set in the Municipal Government Act for the number of extensions that can be granted, or the period of time an extension can be granted for.
Council discussed granting the requested one-year extension period, though it was recommended council grant a three-year extension to give developers until January 30, 2024.
“Timelines are timelines. Sometimes additional time is needed to get ducks in a row,” Kneehill County Reeve Jerry Wittstock told the Mail. He added it is “not extraordinary to have extensions granted” and these extensions allow applicants to meet conditions for development.
One of the ducks the project has had to wait on was getting approvals from Alberta Environment and Parks.
Zelazo says the process has taken “longer than expected,” but final approval was received in January 2020.
Despite the approval, however, appeals from 27 appellants were received by the Environmental Appeals Board regarding construction of a stormwater maintenance system and modifications to wetland areas on the property. Of the 27 original appellants, only five were deemed to be directly impacted by the maintenance system and wetland modifications.
Rick Skibsted, one of the appellants, is a landowner who has hiked the Rosebud River valley for many years. He says the proposed location is “like putting a toilet in the living room” and will “destroy the special habitat” of the valley.
A hearing by the Environmental Appeals Board is scheduled for December 7, 9, and 10.
Zelazo says any outcome of the hearing will not impact the overall project, only on the proposed modifications and stormwater maintenance system.
He is hopeful development on the Badlands Motorsports Resort project can proceed in spring 2021.
Kneehill County council unanimously approved the three-year extension for the Badlands Motorsports Resort.
Lacie Nairn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Drumheller Mail