County of Paintearth. (File photo)

County of Paintearth. (File photo)

Delegation informs Paintearth County council of solar farm concerns during recent meeting

And other highlights of the June 20 meeting

By Carson Ellis

For the Advance

Several delegations presented to the County of Paintearth council during its June 20 meeting.

The first delegation was comprised of J.D. and Sandra Johnson, along with Brett and Jenna Niborg. J.D. Johnson spoke on behalf of the delegation regarding a solar farm project on the east half of 12-39-16 W4.

Johnson spoke about concerns with a solar farm that has been seemingly stalled for the last two years but recently shows signs of activity on the land indicating it is going ahead. The delegation was concerned with the solar farm being constructed in a populated area of the county, noting they weren’t against the project but felt that a different location in a less populated area would be preferred.

The delegation felt that the developers were not interested in an open dialogue with surrounding landowners. The delegation asked the county for assistance in the matter that council may be able to provide. Reeve Schulmeister noted that there was a concern about landowners having a certain amount of autonomy on what they do with their land and that county land use bylaws had been developed after extensive public consultation on such matters.

During the conversation with Johnson, council noted they had not been given any updates on the project that was being discussed. It was also noted that there are no regulations making it necessary, and although some keep those affected up to date, many do not. The county will make efforts to open communication with the development company and anyone involved or affected. The presentation was then accepted as information with a motion by Coun. George Glazier.

A second delegation comprised of Richard Roland addressed council regarding road use in front of his property. Roland noted there are approximately 55 heavy trucks that pass his property every day since his home is on a main route for heavy trucks transporting to a nearby dump site. He asked council to reconsider the classification of road maintenance near his property under road work development and not the current classification that qualifies it as a dirt road with soil maintenance. He explained that he feels his road qualifies under six criteria of nine that determine the classification of road maintenance on county roads. The presentation was accepted as information with a motion by Coun. Maurice Wiart.

Funding requests

The council then addressed several requests for funds under the Recreation and Community Grant program offered by the county. The application by the Coronation U17 Softball for playdowns was approved with a motion by Coun. Glazier. The same was approved for Coronation U15 softball with a motion approved by Coun. Diane Elliot. Two more requests under the same program from U13 softball were approved with motions from Coun. Wiart, and Coun. Dale Norton.

Health care provider attraction

The council then discussed changes to the terms of reference for the Castor and Area Health Care Providers Attraction and Retention Committee. The committee has recently made proposed changes to its guidelines and was looking for suggested changes before ratification.

Coun. Glazier suggested modifying the number of representatives from council to a total of three from either council, instead of the proposed two members of each council. It was then suggested to table the changes until the committee presented its proposed changes to Castor Council. Coun. Norton motioned to table the item, which was carried.

Agricultural Disaster

Chief Administrative Officer(CAO) Michael Simpson then discussed the possibility of declaring the county an Agricultural Disaster Area. Despite recent rainfall, it was noted that many of the current crops were further behind than they should be in the county.

After a brief discussion on the meaning of the declaration, and how it would not negatively affect those who were doing well, it was decided to begin the process. The motion to proceed was carried from Coun. Elliot.