Kneehill County declined a ratepayer’s request for help accessing his farmland and instead encouraged the property owner to speak to a certain neighbour about access.
The decision was made after a delegation at the Feb. 23 regular meeting of council.
The meeting was streamed on the county’s YouTube channel to meet pandemic rules.
Don Ferguson requested time to speak in-person to Kneehill County council, submitted a written request and brought some maps of the situation with him. “...would like council to provide access to two quarters farmland,” stated the written request form in council’s agenda.
“SW19-29-22W4 and NW18-29-22W4. Don is willing to pay all expenses of achieving this. Could be done by forced road or just an easement on title, will bring handouts.”
Ferguson stated his family farms that land under the name F-5 Corp.
“We farm it all, no problem,” said Ferguson.
He explained that when he purchased the parcels in question he was told an easement existed on an adjacent parcel for access to said property and assumed that was correct.
Ferguson stated he found out about a year later it wasn’t correct, and no such easement existed.
He explained the neighbour to the north gave him permission to enter to access property, but turned down the easement idea.
He further explained he now has three interested buyers for the property in question, but they’ve all stated they insist on access guaranteed on the title.
Ferguson stated small access roads aren’t unusual in the county and all he needs is just a right-of-way easement and added that he’d prefer to come in from the east where the county already has a quality approach.
“I’m willing to pay all costs of that easement,” said Ferguson.
He added that he has not approached his neighbour to the east and though he’s willing to negotiate with his neighbour he’s not optimistic he’ll get permission.
Some hours later in the meeting councillors debated the request.
Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Mike Haugen noted the county has authority to acquire land but goes to great lengths to avoid ever using that authority.
Haugen stated Ferguson has the option of approaching his neighbour to the east and if the county got involved in this situation it would appear the county was acting on Ferguson’s behalf.
Coun. Ken King stated he thought Ferguson should talk to his neighbour to the east.
Reeve Jerry Wittstock agreed, saying, “You gotta start someplace and I think that would be a good place to start.”
Councillors simply accepted Ferguson’s request as information.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, East Central Alberta Review