By Anna Smith
The October 25 Council meeting for the County of Forty Mile No. 8 was a relatively quiet one, with the first snow a bit of a surprise to the councillors who had to travel to attend.
Likely the largest discussion, said newly appointed Reeve Stacey Barrows in an interview after the meeting, was in regards to the Winnifred water project.
“They brought to us a 10 year plan, but they have to bring the bylaw back to pass, but they’d looked up interest rates and such, because now we have to do a debenture on it to pay for it,” said Barrows. “We haven’t decided on anything yet because they have to bring the bylaw back to be approved. Once the bylaw is approved, we want to send out some more information to the residents before we make a final decision because we want their input.”
Barrows acknowledged that the subject of the project can be a difficult one, due to members of the community being divided on the matter, but assured that they’re going to be looking for further community feedback as they move into this stage of the project.
“Our other big discussion was land use bylaw amendments. We’ve been talking lots about our land use bylaws, since there’s been this pause on renewables,” said Barrows. “So just to take a look at our renewables, and see if we want to make any amendments to it.”
While no formal decisions were made, ideas of increasing the setback between projects and non-participating residences was mentioned as a possibility for new projects coming in once the pause is over, to reduce noise pollution for those who simply lived next to farms who have decided to invest in wind towers.
“It’s just in discussion for now, because, of course, they want us to bring back to the next meeting, you know, they want us to take a look at the wind and solar in the land use bylaw and see how we would like to amend it and bring it back to a future meeting,” said Barrows. “We want to have all of our guidelines in place. So, when projects are coming in, we have what we think is within the best interest of the County as well.”
She added that it’s likely this will move into a public hearing after first reading, and hopes to see residents present to give council their opinions on the matter to allow council to better reflect their communities’ wishes.
Lastly, due to some scheduling issues and a desire for adequate notice, many of the coffee with council dates have been pushed until after Christmas, to allow time for residents to prepare and plan to attend.
The Burdett date, and the first of these informal meetings, however, is December 4. Those interested in the opportunity to speak with Council on their desires and concerns for Burdett and the surrounding area are highly encouraged to look to the 40 Mile website for further details as they become public.