Springbank resident update

By Jerry Arshinoff
Councillor, Rocky View County Div. 2

Traffic Disruption Notification – Old Banff Coach RoadJerry Arshinoff (2)

Paving Work Old Banff Coach Road/Hwy 563

Location: Hwy 563 from Hwy 1 to Springbank Road
Estimated Timeframe: August 2016
Description: Work includes milling, paving and line painting. Speed may be reduced and flagpersons will be present within the active work zone.  Motorists should expect delays and a reduced number of traffic lanes.  Please respect all posted signage and watch for workers. This work is being done by AECON Transportation for Alberta Transportation.

Old Banff (2)

 

Traffic Disruption – Highway 1

Micro-surfacing, spray patching and line painting activities along 17 kms of Hwy 1 on westbound lanes from Calgary City Limits to 5 km west of Hwy 22 (August 15 to September 30, 2016)
Location: 17 km section of Hwy 1 (westbound lanes) from Calgary City Limits to 5 km west of Hwy 22
Estimated Timeframe: August 15 to September 30
Description: Work includes micro-surfacing, spray patching and line painting activities.  Speed and lane reductions will be in effect with flaggers and pilot vehicles in use.  Motorists can expect delays less than 30 minutes.  Speeds will be reduced to 50 km/h during active work hours.  Work will be during daylight hours only. This work is being done by contractor West-Can Seal Coating for Alberta Transportation.  Inquiries can be directed to project manager Kyle Tait of ISL Engineering @ 403-327-3755 or ktait@islengineering.com

 

Rocky View Complaint Line 

I’m told by enforcement services that quicker responses will result if residents fill out an on-line complaint form about occurrences such as speeding vehicles, construction violations, dangerous dogs or other.

Please notify me about any such issues as it is the only way can keep track of progress (or lack thereof).

Voters’ List

I haven’t given up on my goal to have a voters’ list in Rocky View, in time for the October 2017 municipal election.

Last Tuesday I went to Edmonton to speak with Elections Alberta and Municipal Affairs officials. The results of those meetings are to be seen.

I cannot over emphasize the importance of a Voters’ List as under the current system there there is little, if anything, preventing someone from voting more than once. Council again turned down my request to establish such a list, giving the specific reason that an enumeration of residents would cost $200,000. Whether we need an enumeration and/or its cost has not yet been established.

Be that as it may, the Councillors who are so worried about spending $200,000 to ensure fair elections are the same ones who voted to spend $42,000,000 on a new municipal hall.

Medical marijuana facility

A change of use development permit is being applied for on Mountain View Trail (by the Springbank Airport). A Development Permit means it does not come to Council. It is decided upon solely by Administration.

“Purpose : Change of Use from automotive, equipment and vehicle services to licensed medical marijuana production facility.”

See Medical Marijuana Application

Any comments must be addressed to abryden@rockyview.ca PRIOR to Sept 5, 2016.

RV regulations are such that this is one of the few (maybe only) places in RV where a medical marijuana facility may be permitted. All the rest are considered to be too close (400 metres) to homes, schools, etc. I don’t know if this proposed facility is more than 400 metres from the closest residential land or from the border of Edge School property. If so it would be marginally more.

RV bylaw dictates that such facilities must only be in commercial areas, or which RV has 24. Most (maybe all other than SB) are too close to schools or homes.

I proposed that such facilities must be 1200 metres from schools or homes but my proposal was supported only by Coun. Margaret Bachehli.

Comment: It is interesting to note that RV by-law dictates that such facilities may not be on farms. Why? Good Question. A good guess is that various councillors did not want it in their divisions.  See CBC news “…nightmare for neighbours”

I suggest that whether someone approves of medical marijuana is not the point. The potential issues pertain to policing and traffic.

If you do submit comments to RV, I would appreciate a CC.

 

Councillor’s summer update–Division One

By Liz Breakey
Div. 1 Councillor-Rocky View County

The summer is here in full force, with green fields and a promising hay crop notwithstanding the hail storms that shredded my acres of rhubarb and delphiniums. Liz-Breakey

The recent County Agricultural Tour (which had a sold-out crew of regulars, including families like the Todds who still attend even though they now live in downtown Hillhurst) featured young families creating innovative ag businesses such as malting for the microbreweries that are thriving in the area, free-range hogs, seed potato growing with dozens of different varieties, and many other great new ideas!  Bragg Creek Days was a big success through the combined efforts of both Redwood Meadows and Bragg Creek residents and featured the beautiful new playground on the Community Centre grounds.  The long-planned paving of the Circle 5 subdivision gravel road is proceeding and the Bragg Creek Trails Association is pressing on with environmental assessments and fundraising for Phases Two and Three to complete the Trans Canada Trail from the Hamlet to K-Country.  Please remember their annual fundraiser in the fall and towards this end, the County is working at setting up a new funding entity for Parks and Pathways.

On a sad note, Division One has lost several of its most wonderful residents; they will be most sorely missed.

Jan Kirkpatrick, a business owner, horsewoman, resident of Circle 5, passed away peacefully in June;

Ernie Shewchuk, president of the Snowbirds, also a horse lover and a hunter and a long time Bragg Creek resident on Park Place was honoured at a Celebration of Life at the end of July;

Harvey Buckley, past Councillor, Jumping Pound rancher and founder and President of Action for Agriculture passed away with grace and strength after a full life, including a major contribution to the Alberta Land Use Framework policy formulation. At his amazing Memorial Service, a women in the lineup for coffee remarked “There goes one of the last best of the West;”

Margaret Barclay, owner of Crabapple Cottage for twenty years, Bragg Creek resident, mother of Rayne and long-time partner of Ian Brown, passed away on July 25.

A wonderful gathering of women was held at the newly-restored Round Hall on the Elbow River to celebrate Margaret and her spirit; the family will hold a formal service at the end of August at McInnis and Holloway in Calgary and there will be a local community gathering on September 23 at Redwood House to include those who wish to honour her memory.  Each one of these departed made significant contributions to our community and we shall hold their memories dear to our hearts.

Read more »

Opinion: Rocky View fails to show support for clean air, water

By Enrique Massot
The County News Online??????????????

It would have been reassuring to learn that a majority of Rocky View councillors values citizens’ right to a healthy environment.

It was not going to happen in Rocky View County.

Instead, citizens heard elected officials advance a plethora of excuses justifying their refusal to endorse a Declaration in support of clean water, clean air and safe food.

The Declaration was submitted to the County’s Policy and Priorities Committee made up of the nine members of Council, following a request of Lochend Area Residents concerned with the impacts of fracking and flaring activity.

Sponsored by the David Suzuki Foundation, the Blue Dot Movement proposes municipalities to lobby the federal government to include the right to a healthy environment in the Canadian Chart of Rights and Freedoms.

A Council’s Declaration in support of the initiative would have been a sign that a majority of members are concerned by the well-being of those who elected them. After all, if Rocky View residents cannot be ensured clean air and water, who else could?

But for Committee Chair Rolly Ashdown, making such a declaration would be akin to Council attending a street protest.

Reeve Greg Boehlke said endorsing the Healthy Environment Declaration would mean “following” as opposed to “leading.”

For another councillor, support from too few municipalities across Canada—an opportunity to lead?—was the problem.

Only three councillors were in favour of endorsing the Blue Dot Declaration, with one councillor being absent.

Lack of jurisdiction on oil and gas extraction, which is provincially regulated, was mentioned as a reason to avoid taking position.

A shocking statement, however, came from Coun. Lois Habberfield.

She objected to endorsing the Declaration on the basis it may hurt gravel extraction—which, unlike oil and gas, is subject to municipal approval.

“There are a lot of people who don’t like the dust that is created by a gravel extraction (But) gravel extraction needs to happen somewhere,” she said, adding mitigation of adverse effects may be attempted but not always be effective.

The statement did not come from a rookie official but from a strong voice—that of the longest-serving member of Council, who was entrusted with deputy reeve and reeve responsibilities within the last 15 years.

To make things worse, Habberfield’s statement comes at a time when Rocky View works on its first-ever Aggregate Resource Plan, which will set standards for gravel extraction across the County.

After publicly declaring bias, this councillor’s participation in the gravel extraction policy process becomes problematic—to say the least.

 

Clean air declaration out of bounds for Rocky View

A Rocky View councillor opposed a declaration in support of making clean air and water and safe food a human right.

“The one that bothers me in this is the right to clean air,” said Coun. Lois Habberfield.

“There are a lot of people who don’t like the dust that is created by a gravel extraction,” she added. “(but) gravel extraction needs to happen somewhere.”

Coun. Margaret Bahcheli disagreed.

“This is one of our basic rights,” she said. “This is an important declaration that our residents deserve. Let’s start somewhere.”

By a 5-3 majority, councillors meeting as members of the Policy and Priorities Committee (PPC) voted to take no action in support of the inclusion of environmental rights in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

An administrative report told Committee members that hydraulic fracking and gravel extraction are prominent within Rocky View County’s borders.

As a result, the report stressed, “Environmental concerns are bound to emerge.”

Bahcheli, as well as councillors Jerry Arshinoff and Liz Breakey voted against the motion to take no action.

“I do not know how anyone could argue against it,” Arshinoff said.

“The one that bothers me…is the right to clean air.” Coun. Lois Habberfield

Coun. Earl Solberg was absent at the July 5 PPC meeting.

Coun. Eric Lowther supported receiving the information only.

“I think it’s a step in the right direction,” he said.

Last December, the Lochend Area Residents group made a presentation to the Committee and requested its support for making clean air and water a constitutional right.

Residents have been complaining about noise, flaring, water wells and odour to provincial agencies since fracking and flaring activity started in the north Rocky View area bisected by Lochend Road.

CharterRightsFreedoms

Lochend Group member Nielle Hawkwood attended the meeting and briefly spoke to the Committee. She was disappointed by the result.

“I am sorry (councillors) don’t feel they can help,” she said.

Fracking and related flaring, Hawkwood said, “Is polluting our air and contaminating our water.”

Reeve Greg Boehlke did not see any value in signing the declaration as a County.

“It’s following an initiative that just creates motherhood and apple pie feelings, and really does not have substance,” he said.

Boehlke said Rocky View is already taking many initiatives in favour of the environment.

“I do not think we need to sign on to be a follower of a group that thrives and lives off the government and the taxpayer just so that they can pound on the table and say how clean air is our right,” he added.

Coun. Bruce Kendall pointed out that out of 3, 643 Canadian municipal entities only 130 have signed the declaration.

That number, Kendall added, “Does not represent an overwhelming percentage. It leaves 3,513 municipalities that haven’t yet adopted that.”

PPC Chair Rolly Ashdown went further.

“Picking up the plaque and following around on legal protest, I do not think that’s our position or what we should be doing,” he said.

Coun. Liz Breakey saw nothing wrong with expressing support for clean air, clean water, safe food, access to Nature, and the ability to know about pollutants and contaminants.

Signing the declaration, she said, is “My preference because I think it would be ground breaking (and) I do not think it ties us to anything that we are not doing anyway.”

A motion by Coun. Lowther to hear from Lochend Residents Group member Nielle Hawkwood and receive information about the group’s proposed moratorium on fracking and flaring activity until its effects become known met with enough support from his peers.

“I do remember the presentation back in December and being quite moved by it,” he said.

Hawkwood told the Committee there was little documentation on fracking when activity started in the Lochend area.

“Now there are more than 685 papers,” she said. “The vast majority of these peer-reviewed, scientific papers overwhelmingly state the harms of this practice for public health, for air quality and for water quality.”

The Healthy Environment Declaration

The Healthy Environment Declaration stems from the David Suzuki Foundation’s Blue Dot Movement, which attempts to bring attention to the lack of environmental rights protection in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

An administrative report noted the Committee could declare the belief that everyone has the right to clean water, clean air, safe food, and a healthy living environment.

Over 135 Canadian municipalities, including Jasper and Camrose in Alberta, have already made such declarations.

The report told Committee members that “the aim is to make waves at the local level so that provincial and federal government can initiate real change on the constitutional level.”

However, the report recommended the Committee to avoid signing the declaration.

“Given the County’s lack of jurisdiction over activities such as hydraulic fracking, the purpose of Administration’s recommendation is to avert any unrealistic expectations that may arise from adopting such a declaration.”

Opinion: Rocky View’s lost opportunity

By Enrique Massot
The County News Online

It was disappointing to see Rocky View elected officials neglect an opportunity to ensure the principle of “one citizen, one vote” in the upcoming October 2017 election.

Even more disappointing was to see Coun. Jerry Arshinoff’s single-handed initiative to prepare a list of electors being dismissed on a technicality.

Enrique Massot

Enrique Massot

Coun. Rolly Ashdown’s “point of order” blocking Arshinoff’s motion from being voted and his subsequent challenge of Reeve Greg Boehlke’s initial decision to allow the vote stabbed democracy and deprived citizens of a chance of having the list, or at least knowing each councillor’s position on the subject.

It was too bad—a lost opportunity. If one municipality in Alberta needs to improve election accountability, that municipality is, without a doubt, Rocky View County.

Electors in Rocky View, however, may ask themselves what all the fuss is about.

After all, municipalities have been doing fine without such lists. But have they?

Rocky View, surrounding three sides of the largest city in the province, has been facing an all-out assault on its territory—something euphemistically named development pressure—for at least the last 15 years.

Developers buy low-price farmland, obtain overnight value increases by re-designating it as residential, then build houses and sell them with a ‘country living’ markup. All courtesy of the municipality, which then needs to secure fire suppression and other services for the new residents.

With the motto “you can’t stop growth” those creative entrepreneurs have been working to create bedroom communities, some of the size of small cities, paving over valuable agricultural land, often with basic or substandard infrastructure, bringing sprawl to a whole new level.

When developers of large-scale commercial projects required piped water and wastewater services, the County borrowed on its taxpayers’ credit, to build those systems and purchase water licences—setting levies too low for debt payback.

Pushing for development in Calgary’s fringe areas resulted in strained relations with the City, ending mutual collaboration on matters as expensive as firefighting.

Such decisions have required councils bent on ignoring County residents—who have time and again rejected rampant urbanization—to instead divert time and resources for the industry’s benefit.

In some cases, countering pro-development decisions have required residents’ massive mobilizations.

Developers are used to fund candidates with hidden pro-development agendas. The extent of such support only became known after the 2010 election, thanks to new provincial regulations requiring disclosure.

In 2013, the industry fully funded the campaigns of six candidates to Council to the tune of $125,000—over $20,000 in average—with three of them becoming elected. The winner candidate in a 2015 bylaw election also received just short of $20,000 in funding, mostly from industry contributions.

In 2013, a developers’ lobby group with undisclosed membership was launched in Rocky View to advance the industry’s agenda.

While no fraudulent election practices have ever been proved, wildly diverging results among polling stations, or between advanced voting and Election Day voting, as well as informal reports of out-of-jurisdiction voters call for improved accountability and public perception.

The stakes at play—multi million development projects—are too high to leave it all to a system based on honour. Safeguards must be in place to discourage or catch election-rigging practices.

Candidates have learned to their disappointment that reviewing Form 8s signed by electors can only be done by judicial order, which requires significant legal expenses and cannot change vote results.

While a list of electors will never be totally foolproof, name-crossing may eliminate potential multiple voting and discourage other—also potential—fraudulent practices.

While fraud would not change clear contests, the 2013 election saw differences as small as 25 and 37 votes. A 2015 byelection was won on a 21-vote difference.

With such counts, a group of well-meaning people with knowledge that Form 8s are never scrutinized could easily change an election.

The stakes are high. Multi-million dollar projects and more millions in County expenses can either go ahead or be turned down, depending on Council’s majority agenda.

Now, Rocky View residents are left with a conundrum: The current majority in Council won’t allow a list of electors for 2017—which could open the door to the election of even more pro-development councillors.

Councillor update on road levy

By Jerry Arshinoff
Councillor, Div. 2
Rocky View County

1. From my resident update five days ago:

“The TOL is an extremely important issue. The TOL is a fee imposed on anyone who subdivides as the money raised is intended for transportation improvement due to increased traffic. I am in agreement with the concept.

BUT: There is, in my opinion and the opinion of many others, a huge problem in the manner of who is charged how much. The TOL is not an across-the-board fee. Those in Springbank are charged an exceptionally high amount, especially anyone who owns 5-10 acres and wishes to sell 1 lot (2 or 4 acres) for one additional home. In such a case the person will be charged an exorbitant amount that can be and will be $150,000 – $200,000 just for transportation. This is on top of all other fees and expenses. “

2. New information:

a) Rocky View has agreed to hold a second TOL open house after summer. The date and time is to be determined

b) The current proposal will increase the TOL all over Rocky View. In Springbank it will increase by $1,544/acre – from $15,972/acre to $ 17,516 /acre

c) The total TOL needed for Springbank is $140 million, almost half of which is needed for a flyover for Harmony

d) Harmony will be charged by the acre, excluding their acres that are to be municipal reserve, public utility, etc. The number of acres is to be determined but their TOL will come to approximately $20 million, maybe less, perhaps a lot less.

e) The purpose of the TOL is to provide infrastructure for the increased vehicular traffic. Every home increases traffic. The “little” people in Springbank who own 5-10 acres are charged per acre although in reality they are being charged for each additional home. If Harmony were charged for each additional home, their TOL would be over $60 million. Additionally, Harmony will have businesses, a golf course, etc that will increase traffic by more than from just the homes in Harmony. It could be argued that a $60 million + TOL would make the Harmony development uneconomical. Yet that is the precise case for the “little” people who have 5-10 acres – the TOL involved for selling 2 or 4 acres is such that it makes the whole venture uneconomical

f) Obviously the TOL should be based on and only on the increased vehicular traffic from any development

3. The (potential) good news: 

I think I may fairly say there has been a realization of the inequity of the situation by administration. Hopefully they will address the matter in the fall. Whether Council will pay attention may be a different matter. That is why Rocky View needs to hear from those affected.

4. I have tried to briefly explain a very complex matter

I hope it’s clear. For full details click to see a 31-page TOL report

5. As always, thanks to Diane for helping me figure this out

I had the extreme good fortune of marrying a very smart lady (even though she might kill me for writing this).

 

Opinion: Vote early, vote often?

By Jerry Arshinoff
Div. 2 Councillor
Rocky View County 

On July 26, I proposed to my peers in the Rocky View Council to create a Voters’ List in time for the October, 2017 municipal election.

Jerry Arshinoff

Jerry Arshinoff

For a second time in five months, my proposal was rejected.

Elections in Rocky View are currently based on an “honour” system—just show up at the polls, claim you live in Rocky View and you’ll get a ballot.

A proper Voters’ List may not prevent all fraudulent voting but it would go a very long way to reducing the potential for it.

The current voting system in Rocky View is such that it is impossible to ever determine irregularities such as electors voting more than once or whether non-residents voted.

Opponents of the Voters’ List argue there have not been any complaints about fraudulent voting, which is not surprising. Such complaints require proof—but the current system makes proof impossible to obtain.

Canada sends officials to trouble spots throughout the world to help ensure elections are conducted fairly. Foreign jurisdictions that use nothing other than the “honour” system rarely qualify, as it is assumed fair elections in such places are hopeless.

Five months ago I tried for the first time to get Council to uphold the basic democratic principle of free and fair elections. At that time, Council defeated my motion. This time it could not even get to a vote.

The decision to proceed with a motion that was voted upon within the last six months was up to the Reeve.

The Reeve decided to allow it but was then challenged by Councillor Ashdown with strong support from Councillor Lowther, both of whom won the last election by extremely narrow margins. The Reeve then changed his mind and disallowed the motion. To be fair to the Reeve, it was obvious my motion wouldn’t pass anyway.

You have to wonder why my peers in Council would go to such great lengths to prevent the establishment of proper election procedures.

The fragility of democracy becomes visible when fair elections are compromised by bureaucratic, nonsensical, pathetic procedural matters.

Alberta is one of only two Canadian provinces that does not insist on Voters’ Lists in municipal elections—but Alberta does allow the creation of such lists in its municipalities if a municipality so desires.

Now try to follow this logic: Instead of just implementing a Voters’ List, Council has decided to propose the provincial association of rural municipalities to in turn ask the provincial government to make municipal voters’ lists mandatory.

Which places Rocky View in the awkward position of asking the province to mandate something Rocky View has twice refused to do of its own volition.

This is bound to give rise to considerable “head scratching” among provincial officials.

Surely Rocky View must have a function other than supplying comic relief to the rest of the province.

 

Council dodges voter list for next election

Rocky View County will ask for provincial legislation—but won’t prepare a list in time for the October 2017 election.

A motion by Coun. Jerry Arshinoff to implement a list of eligible voters in Rocky View was blocked on a procedural point at a July 26 Council meeting.

Coun. Rolly Ashdown invoked a rule preventing a motion similar to another made within the previous six months. Arshinoff had presented a similar motion last February.

“It’s a shame that democracy loses out to a silly point of order,” said Arshinoff.

Reeve Greg Boehlke initially decided to allow the motion to be voted, but turned around when Ashdown challenged his ruling.

Coun. Eric Lowther spoke in support of Ashdown’s procedural point.

“We went through this not long ago and we came to a conclusion,” he said.

Ashdown said if the procedure was found to be “silly” it could be changed.

“It’s a shame that democracy loses out to a silly point of order” Coun. Jerry Arshinoff

An Administration’s report recommended Council not to implement a list of electors but recommended instead asking the provincial government to legislate such lists for municipalities across Alberta.

The decision rules out a Rocky View’s list of electors being ready six months before the October 2017 municipal election as required by law.

The County will first try to get support from the Alberta Municipal Districts and Counties Association in November, so that a request for legislative changes can then be forwarded to the province.

Administration informed Council that voter lists are legislated in all Canadian provinces—but Alberta and Saskatchewan.

However, Alberta gives municipalities the power to implement their own voter lists. All it’s needed is a Council’s decision.

Administration recommended Council against implementing a list now, arguing “significant privacy risk, reputational risk and financial cost to the municipality” without elaborating.

The Staff report also stated that “there was a province-wide disuse of voter lists” and that such lists are “not a viable option for Alberta municipalities to pursue.”

Arshinoff, however, said the City of Calgary does keep lists of eligible voters and minimize costs by doing it together with its civic census.

“An Enumeration of eligible electors is conducted with the civic census in April of an election year for the fall Municipal Election,” the City’s website states.

Election fraud has not been proved in Rocky View, but there is an absence of mechanisms to verify irregularities.

Concerns over lack of electors list making imposible to detect and prevent out-of-jurisdiction votes and electors casting votes in different polling stations surfaced after the 2010 and 2013 elections.

Candidates in previous elections were disappointed to find out that even a costly judicial review of Form 8s would have not chance of changing an election result.

This was acknowledged in the administrative report to Council.

“There is also frustration that the current process to prove elector eligibility is dependent on each voter signing a Voter Register (Form 8’s) and the inability for the forms to be reviewed by the public except by judicial order,” it noted. “A list of electors is accepted as a procedural safeguard…for elections in democracies all over the world.”

 

 

Opinion: Rocky View’s gravel policy good to dump

By Mike Edwards
Rocky View Resident

(Editor’s note) Rocky View, with assistance from a consultant, held public meetings for a plan regulating gravel extraction activity in the County. But residents learned that industry representatives met behind closed doors with County officials and that the consultant is member of a gravel producers association. Mike Edwards, leader of mobilizations against past gravel proposals in Bearspaw, says the process is tainted.

The Aggregate Management Plan, as it currently is, should be considered for termination and a new start. 
There is a marked bias in most of the material that has been made available by Rocky View Staff to date.
The ‘consultant’ chosen to assist in this policy development is a member of the Alberta Sand and Gravel Association (ASGA), the industry lobby group whose objective it is to enhance the welfare of its members – nothing more.  The consultant is also a member of similar industry associations in British Columbia and Ontario.

Rocky View consultant’s relation to industry

How we, at Rocky View, made such a choice to help develop gravel policy needs to be reviewed.  (An information request has been filed to try and help determine how this happened).  Our choice not only needs to be fair and unbiased but needs to be seen as such.

Private meetings are unacceptable

Rocky View should insist on a level playing field and never acquiesce to any demands for private meetings unannounced to the Rocky View public.  We need to hold ourselves to much higher standards in this regard.

Our Staff that recommended approval for an extraction operation on Burma Road in 2010 that would have been the second largest in all of Canada at the time (equivalent of 500 tandem trucks each way each day) seems to be trying to do it again.  We, Bearspaw Residents, believe our municipal government’s first priority should be to serve and protect its people – not to further outside financial interests.

There are some technical errors that our consultant and staff seem to be making with regard to gravel supply and demand – playing with only part of a deck.
We are ignoring gravel supply from within Calgary (including lots of built-over gravel lands in NW Calgary and Nose Hill Park) and from First Nations lands yet we speak of Calgary regional gravel demand to set this supply against.

Rocky View not obligated to supply region

Why should Rocky View preserve gravel for the City when the City does not do it for itself?
We also seem locked in to the thesis that gravel demand will grow because the population will grow. However, there may be little population growth in coming years, and in such case there will be little growth in gravel demand other than routine repair applications.

The consultant is supposed to map gravel deposits, but it has neglected using a source of gravel information from oil and gas wells drilled in Rocky View.  The County receives a stipend for each one drilled including its location, which can be used to access its driller’s log – a written record of what happened on the rig (not an electronic record of downhole rock and fluid properties, which is also called a log).  A good driller can probably tell what he is drilling through simply by the sound of his rig.  Certainly there will be gravel returns to the surface after spudding which, if encountered, should be obvious.  It is simply a matter of doing the legwork to access these records from a commercial service or from our energy regulator.  On a trip to Weedon Hall from Bearspaw recently, about 25 such wells were identified.  Obviously, there are many more.  If they were drilled over a year ago, the records will be available.  Our gravel ‘team’ has chosen not to access these data points.

Edmonton has two large gravel firms that compete in the market.  Both rail gravel in from large supply sources about 200 km to the west.  The attractiveness of this economic model is that most of the negative externalities remain about 200 km away from where people are living.  If it works for the Edmonton area, it can work for the Calgary area.  We, too, have railroads.  Incidentally, Edmonton City Council turned down a gravel application a few years ago – it seems that it preferred its river valley to a ‘close to market’ gravel source.  Our lead Staff person once indicated he favoured ‘close to market’ gravel – another bias?

What residents need

The main goal of our gravel policy should let the industry where it can go—and Rocky View residents will know where it cannot come.  A policy with appropriate buffers allowing residents to relax in their property seems a good solution.  We should spend less time listening to people who have never lived anywhere near an operating extraction facility (nor would they) pontificate about ‘mitigation’ which really does not get the job done.

Council to decide on list of electors

By Enrique Massot
The County News Online

Rocky View County administrators are recommending Council against creating a list of electors in time for the upcoming election.

“There is lack of legislative guidance and best practices available,” a staff report that Council will consider July 26 states.

Instead, staff recommends Council to lobby for provincial regulation changes through the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties (AAMD&C).

Following the recommendation will preclude a list of electors to be ready in time for the October 2017 municipal election because the new mechanism should be in place six months before that date. If the AAMD&C were to agree to lobby the provincial government and the government agreed to change the Local Authorities Election Act it would be a long process that could not take effect prior to the following election–that is, 2021.

Council, however, has the power to choose options other than recommended by staff.

Late last year, Coun. Jerry Arshinoff presented a members’ motion to implement a list of electors by bylaw, after noting that the current system has no accountability mechanism preventing or detecting out-of-jurisdiction votes or electors voting multiple times.

Earlier this year, Administration recommended against a voters list arguing costs, as well as risks to privacy and to the reputation of the municipality. It recommended instead alternative measures such as better training for candidates’ scrutineers.

The Alberta Local Authorities Election Act gives municipalities the power to create their own lists of electors.

All Canadian provinces with the exception of Saskatchewan and Alberta have legislated the use of lists of electors.

“A list of electors is accepted as a procedural safeguard and administrative control for elections in democracies all over the world,” the staff report states. “Federal, provincial and most municipal jurisdictions nationally use a list of electors for proof of elector eligibility during an election.”