The County of Stettler will instruct a property owner to remove a feeder and a gate from a public road allowance after a neighbour complained he can’t get his farm equipment down that route. The decision was made at the Sept. 14 regular meeting of council.
Allen Hennel appeared as a delegation to council and said he farms south of the Town of Stettler and requested the council’s help with a road allowance problem he’s facing.
Hennel stated he’s got a dispute with a neighbour who is pasturing cattle on a road allowance that Hennel also uses to access his property. He described the property in question as the west half of 35-37-19.
Hennel stated when the property was first bought it had a fence on the neighbour’s side but because the neighbour doesn’t do any fencing the fence in question fell down and wasn’t replaced. Hennel stated the neighbour’s cattle are on the road allowance and the neighbour relies on Hennel's fence to keep them in, along with a new gate the neighbour built to seal off the road allowance.
Hennel stated the gate is too small to fit his swather through so he’s cut off from his land and he feels that shouldn’t be allowed in the first place.
“To me it’s just not right,” said Hennel.
A second issue is that the road allowance has some banks and the neighbour has placed a feeder on the road allowance so there isn’t a clear route through anyway.
Hennel feels the neighbour should have a proper fence in place and stop blocking the road allowance.
“He should fix his fence just like everybody does,” said Hennel, adding a new fence would run the full half mile.
County staff confirmed during the meeting the road allowance in question is registered as such and is public property.
Coun. Dave Grover, who represents the area in question, said the road allowance should be open for Hennel to move his equipment and bales down.
Coun. James Nibourg asked Hennel if he’s tried to contact his neighbour about this problem, and Hennel said he’s tried but none of his calls were ever returned, that’s why he contacted Coun. Grover.
Grover added he brought it to council because “nothing’s happening.”
Nibourg stated he had a similar situation happen in his ward and an approach that garnered results was informing the property owner they had to remove gates and equipment from public property which would require a new fence because otherwise the cattle could be wandering at large.
Reeve Larry Clarke noted the feeder is sitting on public property.
County Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Yvette Cassidy asked if the neighbour is an absentee landowner. Hennel stated the neighbour’s property was originally owned by Clifford Strandquist and when he passed away ownership transferred to his son Brad Strandquist who lives in Saskatchewan and he rents the land out to someone else.
During discussion county staff stated a 72 hour warning could be given to the neighbour to remove the feeder and a warning that the gate isn’t supposed to be there either.
Coun. Les Stulberg noted he doesn’t have a problem in a case where someone is grazing a road allowance and it has no effect on anybody else but nobody’s access should ever be cut off.
Councillors approved by resolution that Stettler County contact both the property owner and the renter and inform them the gate and feeder must be removed while pointing out the neighbour will have to either build a new fence or stop grazing the road allowance because animal control services would have to get involved if cattle are wandering at large.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, East Central Alberta Review