Local briefs – April 9

City residents who have the urge to prepare their gardens for planting can put yard waste at the curb for pickup starting April 12.

Workers to pick up residential yard waste

City residents who have the urge to prepare their gardens for planting can put yard waste at the curb for pickup starting April 12.

Last year the city yard waste collection diverted more than 3,970 tonnes of yard waste from the city landfill.

“It allows us to turn grass clippings, leaves and tree trimmings into useful compost. The program helps residents clean up their yard and do something good for the environment at the same time,” said Janet Whitesell, waste management superintendent.

The waste can be put in a metal or plastic garbage can that is clearly labelled with a yard waste sticker. Waste can also be placed in special biodegradable paper yard waste bags. Yard waste that is put in plastic bags is treated as garbage and counts towards a resident’s five bag limit.

All yard waste is picked up on residents’ regular garbage day. There is no limit to the amount of yard waste residents can put out providing it is clearly labelled and weighs no more than 25 kg. Orange yard waste stickers can be picked up at the Collicutt Centre, Recreation Centre, City Hall or Civic Yards.

Residents who have large volumes of yard waste can drop off unlimited amounts of yard waste at the city landfill site from May 3 to May 8 during the city’s Free Yard Waste Week.

For more information about the city’s yard waste or recycling programs please visit www.reddeer.ca/envservices or call 403-340-2583.


Rezoning bylaw passes second reading

Lacombe County council gave second reading to a rezoning bylaw for an 88-lot subdivision by Gull Lake on Thursday.

The Wilson’s Beach Estates project, set for development on the east side of the lake, would use two separate waste-water management systems: composting toilets for black water and biofilters for grey water, which comes from sinks and tubs.

A report from Stantec Consulting Ltd., outlining the reliability and costs of such systems, was read to council. Advantages to the proposed system include the fact that it’s waterless, that harmful nutrients and pathogens are treated and removed and that the end product is sterile, and disadvantages include the fact that it would require energy for heat and a fan, and potential odour and insect problems if the systems weren’t properly ventilated and maintained, according to the report.

County commissioner Terry Hager said he believed the cutting-edge technology would work, but was concerned about the operations of the system.

“Administratively we’ve been struggling with it . . . trying to maintain an open mind but not expose the county to undo risk down the road,” Hager said, referring to the fact that if the systems failed, residents would look to the county to fix them.


Shooting court case may be resolved soon

A resolution is possible in the court case of a man charged with killing a hunting companion on the last day of hunting season last November.

Defence lawyer Will Willms told Red Deer provincial court Thursday that he is involved in discussions with Crown prosecutor Robin Fiander to hopefully settle the charges against Herbert Stanley Meister, 57, of Lacombe.

Meister is charged with criminal negligence causing death using a firearm, in connection with the Nov. 29, 2009, shooting of Philip Moore, 55, of Bentley.

Willms adjourned the case until May 13.

There’s considerable material to examine and discuss, Willms told court.

Moore was shot in the abdomen on the next to last day of the hunting season while he was hunting with three others in a heavily wooded area about 13 km west of Bentley, shortly after 4 p.m.

Meister was released from custody on several conditions on Dec. 6, including $10,000 no cash deposit.

There is a ban on publication of details heard at the bail review.

Criminal negligence causing death carries a maximum life in jail sentence and a minimum of four years in jail, upon conviction.


Charges dropped against man shot with Taser

Charges against a Sylvan Lake man tasered by police during a confrontation more than a year ago have been dropped.

Red Deer provincial court heard Thursday two charges against Steven Conrad Poisson, 51, were dismissed by Crown prosecutor Robin Fiander.

There were no reasons given for the decision.

Poisson pleaded not guilty in March 2009 and a trial date was set. However, the trial wasn’t conducted.

RCMP said earlier that on Feb. 23, 2009, about 11:45 p.m. they were called to a complaint of a man with a knife threatening a woman.

When they arrived at a residence in Sunbreaker Cove they found a man waving a knife over his head.

Police said the man held the knife in a manner that appeared threatening to the woman.

Police feared the suspect, who is about 1.9 metres (six feet three inches) tall and weighs about 160 kg (350 pounds), would cause serious harm to the woman.

An officer used the Taser after the suspect refused to drop the knife.

Poisson had been charged with assault with a weapon and possession of a weapon dangerous to the public.

Poisson was in jail for a few days before he was released on bail.


Neighbour expresses anger about rural motocross track

An Alix-area man raged against the machines at a Lacombe County council meeting on Thursday.

“When does the county become accountable?” John McClelland demanded.

The machines are motocross bikes, and the bone of contention is a 160-acre track called Xtreme Raceways that has been operating since last spring on a set of 22 conditions imposed by the county as part of an appeals board ruling granting a five-year operating permit.

McClelland, who lives nearby and has in the past spearheaded area residents’ opposition to the track, claims the former operators of Xtreme Raceways had been violating the 22 conditions imposed as part of the permit, including operating outside of approved business hours, which he said had been done on multiple occasions.

He referenced a letter from the county to the racetrack dated Aug. 17, 2009, threatening to revoke the operating permit if there are further issues.

He said the bikes were back on the track during off-hours the following October.

“It’s frustrating as a homeowner . . . all we’re asking is for the county to enforce what they’ve given this (operating) permit under,” said McClelland.

County commissioner Terry Hager pointed out that it’s difficult to distinguish between commercial and personal use, the latter of which he said he interprets as being allowable outside of track hours.

“The community is really polarized about this and we’re caught in the middle,” Hager said. “Unfortunately, the tools we have for enforcing (like a stop work order) are slow and cumbersome.”

Hager added that they “probably put more effort into policing and monitoring” Xtreme than any other development, and that with complaints of violations, without proof, weren’t much help when it comes to enforcement.

The operating permit has recently been switched to a new lessee of the property, the Red Deer Motocross Association, and county staff members assured McClelland that the new operators were informed of the conditions and accompanying responsibilities.

mgauk@bprda.wpengine.com

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