Landowner group continuing battle with Mountain View County

Rural Roots Association spokesman Myron Thompson is hopeful that Municipal Affairs Minister Ray Danyluk will soon order a review of Mountain View County.

Rural Roots Association spokesman Myron Thompson is hopeful that Municipal Affairs Minister Ray Danyluk will soon order a review of Mountain View County.

The landowner group has been battling the county for months, accusing council of overspending, ignoring landowners’ concerns and pushing changes to land use bylaws that would reduce rural landowners’ property rights while promoting urbanization.

More than 2,000 names were gathered on each of five petitions that were presented to Danyluk in a meeting last month. The petitions call for the firing of senior planning staff, not to renew the contract of the county’s chief administrative officer and to drop plans for a new land use bylaw and offsite levies.

“We want a change in direction,” said Thompson.

The association is planning to make some other moves, but Thompson said he couldn’t elaborate until the association’s directors meet this evening.

“At the directors meeting, we’re going to make a decision on where we’re going to go from here.”

Thompson said the meeting with Danyluk went well.

“We had a good meeting and he understood exactly what we were talking about. He promised he would review it from that aspect.”

Municipal Affairs staff also plan to check the petitions to determine if they have enough names to be considered valid petitions.

Once the minister has made his decision, the association will meet again with council.

“We will see how we can collectively resolve some of these differences.”

County Councillor Gerald Ingeveld said council welcomes a ministerial review.

“We, in the past couple of years, have shown ourselves to be leaders among municipalities in the province,” he said, adding the county was recently recognized for its achievements by the Alberta government.

“We believe a review would be an excellent way to kind of showcase that, I guess.”

Meanwhile, the county plans to continue to work on the land use and offsite levy bylaws. A public open house on the land use bylaw is set for Jan. 12 from 4 to 8 p.m. in Didsbury’s Zion Evangelical Missionary Church in Didsbury.

If there is a silver lining to all of the controversy it is that the bylaw update is now well advertised. It is often difficult to get people to take an interest and present their ideas on those kinds of issues, he said.

“It’s good to have more people wanting to get involved.”

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