I recently received a letter from the Red Deer County Planning and Development Service regarding the county’s Environmentally Significant Areas Initiative. This likens itself to be a friendly program bonding landowners and the county in some blissful environmental partnership. As a landowner in the Pine Lake area, I did look into it thinking there might be some benefit to it.
It is pretty hard not to see this initiative as anything but a green washing attempt by a terribly environmentally irresponsible county administration.
In recent history, the county has embarked on a development frenzy as evidenced by the unbounded growth of the Gasoline Alley ( business park, trailer park, RV sewer dump), approval of countless subdivisions of farm lands for acreages and provided instant rubber-stamping of industrial sites like that of Niobe.
Last year, the county cut down tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of trees in ditches and along fence lines everywhere in the county. County crews would later discourage regrowth with toxic defoliant spray. This spray would destroy non-targeted species like wild roses and buckthorn that are vital to local birdlife.
Anytime the county is involved in the upgrading of roads they’re quick to bulldoze any trees or fill any wetland.
This county initiative looks to be a ploy to offload environmental responsibility onto landowners. The county increases its tax base with unbridled development at the expense of the environment and then expects landowners to maintain the integrity of forests and wetlands.
It should be known that most farmers and ranchers are already excellent stewards of the land and that the county is trying take the credit for this.
How much real support will the county give in tax breaks, incentives or sponsored reforestation? None.
Will the county rubber stampers oppose Alberta Electric System Operator of behalf of the many land owners that will have swathes of their land cleared for little compensation with the proposed AltaLink Genesee-Calgary electric line that is to run to the east of Red Deer next year?
In short the Red Deer County Environmentally Significant Areas Project is county taxpayer-funded green washing attempt distracting the public from its true development at any cost policy irrespective of any negative environmental consequences.