Crowsnest Pass council heard from three delegations during the May 18 council meeting, as well as discussing topics ranging from land zoning to the placement of an outhouse.
Cabin Ridge coal
Brad Johnston, chief development officer for Cabin Ridge, gave council an update on the company’s coal project. Cabin Ridge completed its 2020 coal exploration program and is moving forward with its preliminary economic assessment, with current indications the project is economically viable.
The provincial government’s halt to coal exploration on all Category 2 lands has currently ended the company’s exploration program, which was priced at $12 million and provided up to 90 full-time jobs.
Other surface monitoring, such as water temperature and quality, will continue while the government coal committee writes its report for the new Alberta coal policy.
Council encouraged Cabin Ridge to contact administration for a letter of support should the company wish to lobby the government.
The second delegation was Christopher Snelgrove, an assessor with Benchmark Assessment Consultants, who provided a summary of the procedure for assessing properties in the municipality.
Overall, the process is to give an assessment that accurately portrays the property’s market value, he said. If people disagree with the amount, they can always contact him.
“If there’s an error, it doesn’t hurt my feelings at all. We’ll just fix it,” he said.
If residents still disagree with the assessment, they have the right to appeal to the municipality’s assessment review board.
This year, about 5,400 properties were assessed with about 40 property owners contacting Benchmark with questions. Two residents have filed appeals.
Mr. Snelgrove’s explanation of how properties are assessed can be viewed on pages 33 to 47 of the May 18 meeting agenda, available online at bit.ly/CNP_May18. Council also requested that he provide a simplified one-page explanation of the process for distribution at the municipal office.
Oliver Strickland, chairman of the economic development committee, was the final delegation.
With the formation of the general committees bylaw, council has debated changing the EDC into a community marketing advisory committee. Rebranding would change the focus from development, which has been happening independent of council’s efforts, to marketing the community to other municipalities in Alberta.
Mr. Strickland agreed with the idea.
“We want to do what council wants to do,” he said. “That’s the bottom line. We’re here to work with you.”
The decision was formally approved to dissolve the EDC and form the advisory committee, which will occur later in June.
Approved land-use amendments
First readings for Bylaw 1073-2021 and Bylaw 1078-2021 were passed.
Bylaw 1073 rezones nine properties in the proposed Aurora subdivision to R-1 district; Bylaw 1078 changes the Dairy Road Park in Bellevue from recreation and open space to multi-family residential zoning.
The zoning would permit townhouse development on the property.
The public hearing for the park redesignation is scheduled for June 8, and the hearing for the subdivision is June 15.
Second and third readings for Bylaw 1077-2021 were passed. The property is owned by Mountain Valley Automotive, which uses it for parking vehicles awaiting repair, though the original designation of retail commercial did not match its use. The property is now zoned as drive-in commercial.
Failed land-use amendments
In an uncommon occurrence, Bylaw 1076-2021 failed to pass first reading. The proposed amendments would have redesignated property immediately east of the old provincial information centre along Highway 3 outside Coleman from a residential to a non-urban area for the purpose of extracting sand and gravel.
The provincial government owns the land but requires municipal rezoning to begin a proposed gravel pit, which would service future highway and maintenance projects in the area. The gravel and sand pit would be in operation for 15 to 20 years.
Council unanimously opposed the rezoning, citing concerns of water quality for a nearby creek and insufficient reclamation plans. Administration will not accept another redesignation application for six months.
Outhouse out of place
A letter of complaint from a Coleman resident resulted in council changing the location for a proposed outhouse.
The outhouse was meant to service a portion of the municipality’s walking trails at a popular location, but the proposed site was a little too close to the resident’s home for comfort.
Finding an alternative location nearby was not an option, as land owned by the municipality in the area was sparse.
The current spot, said Coun. Lisa Sygutek, was unacceptable.
“It’s our responsibility to move it anywhere we have to so it’s not in front of someone’s house,” she said.
Rather than along the trail in Coleman, council decided to construct the outhouse along the mountain bike trails at Pass Powderkeg. Another outhouse will be located between Blairmore and Frank.
The next council meeting will be held at 1 p.m. on June 8 at the MDM Community Centre. Agenda packages will be made available online at bit.ly/CNPagenda.
Sean Oliver, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze