Friday, June 15, 2012
There seems to be a vast amount of incorrect information, over a couple of different items that has been published in letters to the Editors.
The first item that I would like to clear up is a comment in a recent letter that talks about a senior’s home built where they do not have access to shopping (new Peace Hills Lodge) and now the seniors have to purchase bus rides that cost five dollars. There was also a cost of five dollars when the buses pick up clients at this senior’s homes previous location (Old Peace Hills Lodge), and that five dollar fee applies to a pick up anywhere in the city to any destination within the city. I would like to stress that the bus system made possibly as many pickups at the old location, as it does now at its current new location. In fact one resident has stated that the location he likes to walk to would be about the same distance from the new lodge as it was from the old lodge.
The second point I would like to clarify is that it was not up to the named person (in one of the articles) to make the decision on where the new lodge was built, it was a board decision made up of representatives from the City of Wetaskiwin, The County of Wetaskiwin, and the Town of Millet. I know that the board looked at all possible sites for the lodge to be built, but it came down to available space and the site that was selected also has the land available to double the size of the lodge when required.
The third and final point is the reference continually made about the parking lot to the west (on the west side of Madyson Manor). This parking lot is not owned by the City of Wetaskiwin, and I believe it is owned by someone that lives outside our community. Therefore the City or a private business cannot just make use of that parking lot.
This letter in no way represents the views of the Mayor, Council, or Wetaskiwin Transit, Peace Hills Lodge, or anybody else in the community. It is also not my intent to embarrass or personally attack any individuals which seems to be the norm these days. (Attack the person not the issue), but to address and clarify remarks to a specific issue or issues.
I am writing in response to the article by Margaret Chegwin titled “Misinformation Fuels Controversy” published in the Pipestone Flyer. This article was certainly of interest to my husband and I because we recently purchased a residential lake lot in a sub-division at Buck Lake. We will build a home there in two years when my husband retires. In the meantime, we plan to park our 5th wheel trailer on our lot for use on week-ends and a week or two during the summer.
Ms. Chegwin quoted a realtor as saying “They don’t want you to have RV quests even for a weekend and you can’t allow a guest or family member to stay in your RV even for a night”. In Ms. Chegwin’s opinion “that piece of pure fiction certainly achieved its purpose of getting people riled up!” I took it upon myself to obtain clarification from the County of Wetaskiwin regarding the “Land Use Bylaw 95/54” she discussed it in her article, and discovered that the realtor’s comments were not “pure fiction”.
After speaking with the County Representative, it appeared that the bylaw was meant to prevent a practice it deemed to be unwise and unwanted, namely people using RVs as residences year round on land zoned residential or agricultural. I then asked these questions as to what would be acceptable under the bylaw:
1.Are overnight stays in our RV on our lake lot in summer acceptable? Answer: No.
2.Can we use our trailer for overnight guests once our home is built at the lake? Answer – No
3.Can we store our trailer on our lot which is zoned residential? Answer – Yes.
This got me thinking of other scenarios concerning the use of RVs on land within the county:
1.A farmer is having a large family reunion in the summer and invites families to bring their RVs and park them in the farmyard for the weekend. Would this violate the existing bylaw? Answer – Yes.
2.What about a wedding on farm property or residential lake lot? Could people stay overnight in an RV onsite? Answer – No.
3.What about road crews or oil field workers at remote locations? Would their use of an RV on agricultural land near their work site violate the bylaw? Answer – Yes, but Council could amend the bylaw to allow for creation of temporary worksites.
4.Would they grant us the same right to a temporary worksite during construction of our home? Apparently not.
In all fairness to the county representative, she stated that they are not actively searching for violations of the bylaw; it is complaint driven only. Sounds reasonable? Well, that depends. A complaint-driven by law allows for abuse based on personal opinions and preferences. Why should a single complaint carry more weight than common practice or the bylaw itself?
Let’s look at how we can amend this bylaw so it is reasonable and inclusive rather than obstructive and exclusive. Could it be as simple as allowing seasonal use of RVs for a defined period of perhaps May to October? This would eliminate winter safety concerns and year-round residency.
Let’s find a way to build community spirit and encourage people to be active participants in our communities? If you are interested in this issue, please plan to attend the meeting with the County Council on Wednesday, June 27th at 6pm at the Buck Lake Community Hall.
Debbie and Rob Sontag
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