Letter from Division 5 Councilor

Division 5 Residents. Businesses and Landowners,

This is the second installment of my quarterly reporting back to you on County activities that I think you might find most relevant, dated March 31st, 2018. If there are other issues that you would like information on, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Also, please feel free to pass this along to anyone you think may be interested; and to those receiving this for the first time if you would like to be added to the distribution list please send me an e-mail.
Please remember as well that fire permits are required from March 1st to October 31st and can be obtained via our automatic system http://www.mountainviewcounty.com/council-boards-services/fire-permit-controlled-burns
Also, road bans have been in effect since midnight of March 12th and will continue to June 5th. Updated listings of banned roads can be found at: http://www.mountainviewcounty.com/council-boards-services/roads

Sundre Recycle Centre
An agreement was signed with Sundre on November 10, 2017 and is effective January 1, 2018. Rural people have always had access to this site, but now the County is contributing funds to maintain the site. The site will be open to the public 7 days per week, 24 hours per day and the cost to the County is estimated to be $14,000 annually. The costs are comprised of the following: – Town staff time to maintain the site in a neat and tidy manner – Additional staff time as required during Christmas, Spring Clean-up etc. – Bin rental – Disposal of non-recyclable material deposited at the site as unfortunately the odd couch or mattress finds its way to the facility. The Agreement is for one year but can be extended by mutual consent of both municipalities.

Upper Red Deer River Study by Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP)
This is just to give you all a heads up that AEP has prioritized expanding the floodway study on the Upper Red Deer River, which encompasses the McDougal Flats area, Sundre and North of Sundre to the extent of some 75km of the Red Deer River and 18km of the Bearberry Creek. This study was not requested by Mountain View County and is in no way being driven by Mountain View County. This project is entirely at the discretion of AEP. Anticipated completion of the study is spring 2019. An overview of the study can be found on the AEP website at http://aep.alberta.ca/water/programs-and-services/flood-hazard-identification-program/river-hazardstudies/default.aspx. Mountain View County will do our best to keep our residents up to date on any information that we receive from AEP on the floodway study.

Request for Resident Information on Water Well Quality
In February, myself and our CAO met with members of the South McDougal Flats Area Protection Society. One of the issues that was discussed was the development of a water quality monitoring program in McDougal Flats. Water quality is the jurisdiction of Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP), however, the SMFAPS and County will be discussing water quality monitoring with the Red Deer River Watershed Alliance as well as with AEP to determine if data gathering on water quality can be done. Another option discussed was to put out a request to community members who have historical well test data that they would be willing to share with the County, so we could try and build a historical data base on water quality monitoring. If you would be willing to share your information, please contact me.

Snow Removal
We have had our share of snow this year, and there are always questions on snow removal and the timing of seeing a snow plow or a grader on your road. School bus routes are often referred to as an expectation of snow removal priority, however, the County does not prioritize school bus routes in our current Service Levels. Please find the table directly from Procedure #4018-01 – snow and ice control which summarizes road snow removal priorities and the service levels Council has set for timing on snow removal. If you find that your roads are not be cleared in line with this, please let me know.

Operational Budget
In my last report, I provided information on the Capital budget as well as some of more significant projects / costs that make up the Capital budget. Council is now discussing the operational budget. The main reason these are split is that the capital budget is passed in December in order to put large infrastructure projects out to tender early in the new year to achieve more competitive pricing; whereas the operational budget can not be passed until all information from the Province is received on Provincial assessments (i.e., well sites, pipelines) as well as the Alberta School Foundation Fund requisition. The operational budget is normally passed in April; however, the County operates under an interim operating budget for the first quarter of the year. The budget is still under discussion at Council and will be finalized in April.
Some interesting elements of the operational budget are the following (may be subject to slight changes);
• $2,024,000 – Community funding to the Towns (Carstairs, Didsbury, Olds and Sundre) and Village (Cremona) for Operating and Capital maintenance costs for Culture, Recreation and Libraries. The new inter-municipal collaboration agreements that the County negotiated in 2016/17 resulted in a 40% increase (roughly $580,000) in operational and capital maintenance funding to the Towns and Village as annual transfers. This is in addition to the $615K that has been put towards a capital reserve fund to support recreation and culture facilities in the Towns and Village. • Roughly $21M is spent on or road maintenance, accounting for an estimated 60% of the total operating budget. • $938,702 has been budgeted for Mountain View County’s share of operating the firehalls (Sundre, Water Valley, Cremona, Olds, Didsbury, Carstairs). This is in addition to the capital contributions for fire vehicles and equipment of $1,169,500. • Council has included $150K in the 2018 operating budget to look at initiatives to support reducing the rural crime rate in the County. Many Councillors, including myself, have attending rural crime forums and are trying to incorporate the community feedback into an initiative that the County can execute. • A breakdown of the revenues that Mountain View County collects is listed in the following table. This does not include the requisitions for Mountain View Seniors’ Housing or the Alberta School Foundation Fund.

MVC Tax Categories

Land Use Bylaw Open Houses
Council opens up the Land Use Bylaw periodically for review and holds open houses to get feedback from the public and businesses on suggested changes. Some of the key topics highlighted for review, update and addition are:
• Horticultural use, medicinal, cannabis production facilities and cannabis retail sales – LUB section 2.5, 13.1, 14.1, 14.2 and 16.2 • Sour Gas facilities – LUB section 2.5 and 10.14 • Borrow pits – LUB section 4.2.2 • Other amendments, such as amending the definition of a Portable Batch Plant to exclude wet scrubber plants. • Update of the Environmentally significant areas (ESA) map in the Municipal Development Plan (MDP) and the Land Use Bylaw (LUB). It has been pointed out to Council during other study reviews of Environmentally significant areas (a recent study done on the County Jackson Lake properties), that the current map the County has been using regarding ESAs may contain some mapping errors. Council directed Administration to review the maps and to incorporate the most recent and up to date data that was applicable. The data currently being used is from a 1991 in-house sweetgrass report and the recommendation from Administration is to update the ESA mapping based on the 2008 Summit report, which can be found on the County website at http://mountainviewcounty.com/search/results/summit%20report. The result was a reduction in the total ESA area in the County of some 16,000 acres. Council’s direction was to add the Provincial Fiera (2014) data to the County’s ESA map. The feedback from the public was that more public consultation and communication is required prior to Council making a decision. Council has deferred second reading of the bylaws so that this information can be included in the public consultations highlighted below. Please note that the current Agriculture preservation area in the MDP and LUB is made up of two layers, one is the ESA mapping which is currently under review and the Canadian land Inventory (CLI) soil classifications, where Ag preservation is based on soil classes 1, 2 and 3. None of the ESA area that is proposed to be removed from the ESA maps has a soil classification of 1, 2 or 3. Also, the ESA map includes flood and hazard mapping. The recommendation put forward at the public hearing on the 28th of March can be altered based on public feedback, so please have your say. The intent of the changes was not to encourage additional development, but rather ensure that a consistent and defendable ESA map is being used for land decisions. Council has the ultimate say over land re-designations and mapping is only one part of what is considered in this process. Also included are site and aerial photos, current land use, impact to County infrastructure, statutory plan policies, Land Use Bylaw and administrative input as well as public feedback. Open houses have been set up for the following dates in the following locations

April 10th , 5:30 – 7:30 pm at Council Chambers at the Mountain View County office
April 24th, 5:30-7:30 pm at the Sundre Legion

This is your opportunity to bring forward any questions or concerns you have with the current Land Use Bylaw as well as any recommendations you may have to improve the Bylaw.

Town of Sundre and Mountain View County resolution over the Airport Pit County redesignation to aggregate district
– March 28th, 2018 press release.

Airport Gravel Pit Agreement Further Advances County, Town Collaboration A new building block in the inter-municipal relationship between Mountain View County and Town of Sundre was put in place following the approval of the Airport Pit Intermunicipal Collaboration Agreement by both municipal Council’s on Wednesday, March 28, 2018.

The Airport Pit Intermunicipal Collaboration Agreement sets out the process for the development of the proposed County-owned pit located just south of the Town boundary on a quarter section to the northeast of the Sundre Airport. Following the redesignation of the 159.78-acre parcel (LU Bylaw 43/17) by Mountain View County Council on October 11, 2017, the Town of Sundre filed an appeal with the Municipal Government Board raising concerns about the impact of aggregate mining immediately adjacent to the Town.

Following mediation between the two municipalities, an agreement was developed that allows the County to continue with its planning for the gravel extraction operation for municipal purposes, while addressing the concerns of the Town of Sundre on issues including site design, pit planning, environmental concerns, haul routes, air quality and reclamation, among others. Included in the agreement is the requirement for continued communications between the County and Town around annual pit planning and design.

The agreement adheres to the premise of inter-municipal cooperation and negotiation as laid out by the Provincial Government in the recent changes to the Municipal Government Act (MGA). According to the updated MGA, bordering municipalities are required to form inter-municipal committees to deal with issues that arise and propose solutions that are mutually beneficial to both municipalities.

Officials for both the County and Town are confident this agreement will enhance cooperation between the two municipalities now and in the future. Still at hand for the two communities is the development of an Intermunicipal Cooperation Framework (ICF) and a series of sub-agreements to replace the Memorandum of Agreement between the two municipalities, that will outline the shared funding and delivery of fire, recreation, culture and library services to the greater Sundre area.

“This agreement demonstrates the benefit of honest negotiations with our Municipal partners. It sets the stage for the timely conclusion of a Collaborative Framework with Sundre formalizing the many aspects of cooperation between our municipalities to the mutual benefit of our residents.” Mountain View County Reeve Bruce Beattie

“Sundre Town Council and Administration are very proud of the work done, through mediation with Mountain View County, to resolve concerns expressed by community residents. This process has enabled us to look forward optimistically to negotiating future agreements together to serve our community.” Sundre Mayor Terry Leslie

Land Assessment for Agriculture Use
There have been some questions on the tax assessment criteria to determine Agriculture use versus other land uses. The assessment of lands is purely based on land use and not your status as a farmer. Therefore, someone could own land and rent it out to a farmer for grazing cattle, or crop production and that land would be considered
Agriculture land as that is what it is being used for. The land owner does not have to be a farmer and so therefore there is no need to show the Tax Assessors any income statements. There is also not a threshold requirement for a certain value in a lease agreement to rent your land out for agriculture use. The assessment evaluation is based on land use only.
As per the Municipal Government Act, Farming operations in order to determine the land use of Agriculture are the following;
Matters Relating to Assessment and Taxation Regulation 2018:
Section 2(1) (f): “Farming operations” means the raising, production and sale of agricultural products and includes
(i) Horticulture, aviculture, apiculture and aquaculture, (ii) The raising, production and sale of a. Horses, cattle, bison, sheep, swine, goats and or other livestock b. Fur bearing animals raised in captivity, c. Domestic cervids within the meaning of the domestic cervids industry regulations (AR 188/2014), or d. Domestic camelids, (iii) The planting, growing and sale of sod, (iv) An operation on a parcel of land for which a woodland management plan has been approved by the Woodlot Association of Alberta or a forester registered under Regulated Forest Profession Act for the production of timber primarily marketed as whole logs, seed cones or Christmas trees but does not include any operation or activity on land that has been stripped for the purposes of, or in a manner that leaves the land more suitable for, future development.

If you are not farming the land yourself, in order to get your land assessed as agriculture your options would be to get a lease with a farmer for grazing or crop production (again no dollar amount is necessary if you lease in kind for something else or just for the sake of land maintenance) or to go through the woodlot association (http://www.woodlot.org/) or get an agreement with a business like West Fraser mills for timber harvesting.
These are just some issues that I thought you might be interested in. If you have additional questions or would like information on a topic that I have not addressed, please contact me.

Thanks,

Angela Aalbers
Division 5 Councillor, Mountain View County, aaalbers@mvcounty.com 403-507-1057
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