Auction mart faces Innisfail-area opposition

Red Deer County should not allow “random” industrial sites to spring up in areas not zoned for that, says a landowner opposing a proposed auction mart just south of Innisfail.

Red Deer County should not allow “random” industrial sites to spring up in areas not zoned for that, says a landowner opposing a proposed auction mart just south of Innisfail.

Mike Bray said he moved to the county to enjoy its peace and it is not fair to consider land use changes when there are 15 other areas nearby already zoned for industrial uses that are more appropriate. Putting an industrial site next to local homes will also hurt property values, he said on Tuesday.

“Nobody wants to live in an industrial site, especially in the county,” he told county council.

Neighbour Tony Frank raised concerns about the amount of traffic, potential parking hassles and noise from an auction mart next door.

“It’s not conducive to a peaceful living, I don’t think.”

Landowner Gary Severtson wants to rezone just under 27 acres on the east side of Hwy 2 from agricultural medium industrial to allow for the development of the auction for heavy industrial equipment.

Severtson said there are many who support his proposed development and he could supply additional letters backing his project. The paved road where his project would be located is already home to other businesses, he said. Council also heard that noise would be buffered with a row of trees and there would only be four to five auctions each year.

Several councillors expressed misgivings about approving a development before an area structure plan, which would outline what sorts of developments could go where, was completed.

“This is a premature development,” said Councillor George Gehrke, who called for an area structure plan.

However, council wrestled with a decision on how big an area the plan should cover.

Councillor David Hoar said the county clearly intends some sort of future development in the area, but no overall development plan has been taken to area residents for them to review and provide comment. The auction mart may be well suited to the site “but we also have to sit back and say this is one piece of the puzzle.”

Councillor Jim Wood proposed speeding up the process by requiring an area structure plan only for the auction mart property.

“I don’t think we’re ever going to finish the puzzle without putting the first piece down,” he said.

That motion was defeated.

Most of council recommended an area structure plan for the “greater area” be put together before any zoning changes and new developments were approved in the area. That work must be done, including a decision on how much area to cover, before council will consider approving final reading on the auction mart.

The motion passed 5-1 with Councillor Jim Lougheed against. County Reeve Earl Kinsella was absent.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com