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Cochrane Lake resident wants all parties to be accountable

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  |  Posted: Monday, Aug 04, 2014 01:28 pm

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Dear Editor,

There have been various articles in local newspapers in regards to the Cochrane Lake flooding and the Local Improvement Tax that Rocky View County (RVC) is attempting to push onto taxpayers surrounding the lake. I believe all sides of the story should be heard and would like to clarify some points to the best of my understanding:

l) Cochrane Lake is not an “artificial” lake. The lake is fed by underground springs and has been around for hundreds of years. The only thing “artificial” (dictionary description of artificial is “made by human skill or labour, not natural”) about the lake now is the manmade flooding, and the flooding is very real.

2) The majority of residents in Cochrane Lake and Monterra did not ask Rocky Ciew County to investigate a Local Improvement Tax. In fact, RVC mailed a letter to Monterra and Cochrane Lake residents June 25 proposing the LIT. In RVC’s letter it states “the LIT sets out the estimated costs and repayment terms. The interest rate used is based on the current interest rate... and the estimated costs and number of properties may be subject to change”...... If after 30 days the County has not received a valid petition opposing the LIT, the project will proceed. A valid petition against the LIT must be signed by two thirds of the owners liable to pay the LIT and the owners who sign the petition must represent half of the assessment value of the properties subject to the LIT.”

Rocky View County has set up an impossible roadblock as there are many empty lots in Monterra that are under foreclosure by a bank and investors, which would represent a large portion of the “two thirds owners” and “half of assessment value.” Good luck getting a petition signed by these entities. Also, we the taxpayers, are left wide open for increased tax due to “estimated” cost and “current” interest rates, and wide open for additional taxes (re: maintenance, etc.) This is a public lake, not our lake, and is a manmade disaster by the powers to be, not us.

3) This lake has been flooding going on four years and is getting worse, damaging homes, creating unsafe yards, destroying trees and fencelines, etc. “Kaiser explained that if (LIT) is approved by council, this would allow RVC to step in and implement a more permanent solution so that residents would not have to wait...” (article July 17 Cochrane Eagle). We have been waiting four years for the responsible parties (Alberta Environment, Rocky View County, a local utility) to be accountable for their gross negligence and lack of follow up.

Alberta Environment approved the Water License to a utility which involved bringing water in from the Bow River, filling Cochrane Lake to a required level and to be responsible to maintain that level, and neglected to ensure there was a required outflow from the lake.

Rocky View County allowed the developer to proceed when all requirements were not in place and no follow up was done on these conditions, obviously.

The utility changed hands with no alterations done for outflow, circulation, etc. that I know of and has walked away scot-free with absolutely no accountability.

Our rights as taxpayers have been manipulated, ignored, dismissed and twisted.

Democracy? I think not.

G. Wilson,

Cochrane Lake resident


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