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Committee created to guide ALUS program

Rocky View County (RVC) council approved Terms of Reference (TOR) for a Partnership Advisory Committee (PAC) at a regular meeting Oct. 16.
Council Chambers
In its first meeting in its new chambers, Rocky View County approved and amended Terms of Reference and approved a land redesignation.

Rocky View County (RVC) council approved Terms of Reference (TOR) for a Partnership Advisory Committee (PAC) at a regular meeting Oct. 16. According to Kristyn Smigelski with Agricultural Services, the PAC will guide the Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS) program in RVC. Smigelski told council the ALUS program is a community-developed, farmer-delivered program that gives Canadians the opportunity to build a healthier environment through the simple goal of creating a working landscape that sustains agriculture, wildlife and natural spaces for all Canadians. “[ALUS] provides funding to producers who implement projects that provide beneficial ecosystem services,” she said. “The program focuses on marginally-productive agricultural lands, and project examples include the restoration of wetlands, the creation of riparian buffers and the creation of pollinator habitat.” Producers will generate projects for their lands and submit the ideas to the PAC for review, Smigelski said. An establishment cost for the project is then sent to the producer, as well as an annual payment for the length of the project’s contract, which Smigelski said is typically five years. Coun. Daniel Henn – chair of the Agricultural Service Board – moved to approve the TOR for the PAC. “We’ve had several presentations on this ALUS program,” he said. “It’s one of those deals that just makes sense. It enables farmers and ranchers to take marginal land and either use it for their benefit or return it back to nature.” Council approved the TOR unanimously. Coun. Kim McKylor was absent from the meeting.

Hosting IMCs

Council adopted amended Terms of Reference for the Intermunicipal Committees (IMCs) at the meeting. According to Richard Barss with Intergovernmental Affairs, IMCs are a way to communicate and discuss matters of mutual interest between RVC councillors and council members of neighbouring municipalities. The updated Terms of Reference adds Division 8 to the Town of Cochrane IMC, clarifies the role of the reeve and deputy reeve as ex-officio members that can chair meetings and adds the ability to establish ad-hoc IMC meetings with rural neighbours. Reeve Greg Boehlke questioned the necessity of having the reeve or deputy reeve chair the meetings. “I’m of the feeling that the area councillor, or one of the area councillors, should be the chair,” he said. “It gives experience and it gives acknowledgement of that division. The reeve and deputy reeve are ex-officio, so we can go to any meeting. That doesn’t particularly mean we need to be the chair.” Coun. Crystal Kissel, who moved to amend the TOR, expressed a desire to keep the amendments the way they were presented to council. “I believe it’s important that the reeve and the deputy reeve come to these meetings, and are very public,” she said. “When we go to Cochrane, the mayor of Cochrane hosts and he chairs. I think it’s important to reciprocate the same level of professionalism.” Coun. Kevin Hanson proposed an amendment – that the TOR be changed so area councillors be the official chair of IMC meetings when RVC hosts. The amendment was carried 5-3, with Deputy Reeve Jerry Gautreau and Couns. Mark Kamachi and Al Schule opposed. The amended TOR was then approved unanimously by council.

Land Redesignation

Council gave third reading to a redesignation application in the City of Calgary Future Industrial Growth Area, at the southwest junction of Highway 560 and Range Road 282. Planner Sean MacLean said the application would facilitate a 20.11-acre parcel with a 20.11-acre remainder, but was deemed non-compliant by administration as it did not meet the definition of a first parcel out or a new/distinct agricultural operation. The application came before council Sept. 25, when it was given first and second readings – with Couns. Samanntha Wright, Kissel and Hanson opposed. Because council did not vote unanimously to consider third reading at that time, the application was brought back for final reading at a meeting Oct. 16. Hanson reiterated his opposition to the application, and expressed a hope that his colleagues had given it “sober second thought.” “I do not see a need to subdivide this land at a time when we’re trying to establish a better relationship with the City,” he said. Council voted 4-3 to approve the application, with Hanson, Wright and Kissel opposed. Kamachi was absent for first and second readings of the bylaw, and therefore could not vote on third reading.

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