The RM of Ritchot’s council met two times in the last week, starting with a special meeting on April 13 to discuss the bylaw regulating campaign expenses and contributions. Mayor Chris Ewen was not in attendance.
Previously, this bylaw permitted the head of council (the mayor) to spend up to $5,000 on campaign expenses. Each councillor was allowed to spend up to $2,500.
CAO Mitch Duval pointed out that times have changed since this bylaw was implemented. The population of the RM of Ritchot has grown in the interim, meaning that there is a larger number of people who need to be taken into account.
“And as we know, there are inflation rates,” Duval said. “The cost of signs go up, the cost of everything goes up. So council is looking at changing those limits to a recommended $7,500 for head of council and a recommended $3,500 for each councillor.”
This first and second reading of this resolution were unanimously passed.
A conditional use permit was requested by River Trail Development Corp/J&N Holdings Ltd. regarding the property at 420 Main Street in St. Adolphe. The proposal is to allow a multifamily dwelling consisting of 30 rental units in an area zoned residential general.
Councillor Ron Mamchuk voiced concern on behalf of his constituents regarding the history of that location.
He explained that 420 Main Street was a personal care home for many years. Before that, the building served as a convent. An old fountain remains in that spot and locals consider the fountain and location to be of great historical significance.
Keith Unger, a representative from J&N Holdings, indicated that he would be happy to make accommodations for the history of the property. He also volunteered to consider naming the new complex after the historic fountain.
Mayor Ewen expressed gratitude for Unger’s willingness to preserve the area and council unanimously approved his request, pending the standard conditions.
At the regularly scheduled council meeting on April 20, Wilma and Dan Wiens of 1395B Lasko Road in St. Germain South requested a variance for their specialized agricultural operation. They sought to increase the site from 10 acres to 8.6 acres.
Along with this variance, they requested a conditional use permit to operate a specialized agriculture business for garden vegetable production.
Councillor Janine Belanger expressed some concern regarding the number of people who may attend the site, but applicant Dan Wiens explained that the gardens would be growing produce for sale exclusively offsite.
Sheila Antoniuk, a neighbour of the Wiens farm, also expressed concern regarding how the requested variance may affect her property values.
There was a lengthy discussion about the issue, but ultimately council voted to unanimously approve the variance. The conditional use permit was also unanimously approved pending some standard conditions.
In other business, a conditional use permit was requested by Guy Sherwood of 509 PR 247. Sherwood requested permission to build a garden suite near his home on land currently slated for agricultural use.
Council approved this permit, pending several conditions. Sherwood expressed some concern regarding one of these conditions, which states that the garden suite must be moved or demolished within three months if an immediate family member no longer lives there.
Mayor Ewen explained that this is their general policy regarding garden suites, because it prevents the potential for the suite to be used as an illegal rental unit.
Odds and Ends
A zoning variation was requested by Donna Jervis and Wesley Woytowich of 828 Red River Drive in Howden. They asked to decrease the required site area for an agricultural lot from 80 acres to 56.53 acres. The variance was unanimously granted.
Raymond Philippe of 2399 Andrechuk Road in Glenlea requested to vary the required site area of a residual agricultural lot from 80 acres to 18.16 acres. No concerns were voiced regarding this change and it, too, was unanimously approved.
A second and third reading were given to a bylaw regarding the closing of Juniper Bay in Ile-des-Chênes. Both readings were passed unanimously.
A third and final reading was given to the bylaw governing the use of municipal resources during an election, as well as to the bylaw governing campaign expenses and contributions. Both were unanimously approved.
Finally, council voted to approve guaranteeing a line of credit from Access Credit Union for the construction of the RSR Wastewater Cooperative, a regional project to construct a sewage treatment plant that will serve a number of neighbouring municipalities. The RM of Ritchot will guarantee 14 percent of the total amount needed to build the co-op. Access Credit Union has asked other local RMs to guarantee the line of credit as well. Guaranteed amounts for each municipality are based on expected usage of the plant.
Jennifer Lavin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Niverville Citizen