Local briefs – May 29

Lacombe County council agreed on Thursday to provide up to $100,000 in cash and $300,000 of construction help for the proposed Lacombe Athletic Park.

Lacombe park gets cash

Lacombe County council agreed on Thursday to provide up to $100,000 in cash and $300,000 of construction help for the proposed Lacombe Athletic Park.

The $2.8-million multi-sport facility would include an artificial turf sports field for football, soccer, rugby, lacrosse and track and field. There would also be a fieldhouse with dressing rooms, observation tower, concession booth and storage space.

After two years of planning, a final design for the fieldhouse has been chosen and a fundraising campaign led by Lacombe and District Minor Football is well underway.

The fieldhouse, stands and scoreboard are expected to be completed this year, and the field and track will be finished next year.

Wolf Creek School Division is planning to sign a long-term lease with the Town of Lacombe for the land next to Lacombe Composite High School, where the sports field will be located. The town has agreed in principle to manage the facility.

The county offered to haul away dirt as part of site preparation and haul in 22,000 tonnes of gravel. Local contractors will also be approached to see if they are willing to donate some of their time and equipment as well.

The county will also provide $100,000 in funding to go towards a project, such as field lighting, in return for recognition of the county’s contribution.

Council also approved a smaller donation to help upgrade the Bentley Arena. The county will provide half of the $26,700 cost of replacing furnaces for dressing rooms and the lobby and to replace an overhead door for the Zamboni bay. The Town of Bentley is paying the other half.

Eckville deal proposed

Lacombe County wants to sign an economic development deal with the Town of Eckville to improve business opportunities.

Under the terms of the proposed agreement, the two municipalities would share tax revenues from new industrial and commercial developments just outside town boundaries.

“The Joint Economic Agreement will allow development in the area to move forward the support of both the town and the county without regard to municipal boundaries,” says a report to county council.

“The long-term objective is to ensure the long-term sustainability of the community.”

The county is following the same blueprint it has used for agreements with the Towns of Lacombe and Blackfalds.

Under the agreement, the county would get 70 per cent of tax revenue from new developments within its borders and Eckville would get 30 per cent. If the town provides water services to the development, Eckville tax share goes up 10 per cent. If waste water services are also supplied, the town’s tax share goes up to 50 per cent.

One of the central clauses of the agreement is that the town will provide services where it is practical. Eckville also agrees not to pursue annexation within the land covered by the joint economic agreement without the county’s permission.

Council is waiting for Eckville’s response before voting to approve the deal. The two municipalities recently completed an inter-municipal development plan, mapping out future growth possibilities.

Farmers get transport break

Lacombe County is supporting a provincial move to upgrade transportation regulations to allow for bigger farm equipment.

In January, a 10-person delegation took their concerns to the county to enlist support in their bid to raise the issue with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development Minister George Groeneveld and other provincial officials.

The Central Alberta farmers accused the province of meddling in their livelihoods by getting tough on regulations around the size of farm equipment allowed on roads. In previous months, farmers in Southern Alberta were handed tickets and another farmer in Bashaw was dinged for $230, said members of the delegation.

Provincial regulations say farmers need an overdimensional permit to move farm equipment more than 23 metres in length on local roads.

The maximum length is 30 metres. Height and width regulations are also in place.

Under proposed regulations, the maximum length of farm equipment that can be moved is 30.5 metres, up from 23 metres. A grain auger towed by a farm tractor or truck can be up to 38 metres long if towed during daylight hours.

The height of allowable farm equipment will also be increased to five metres from 4.13 metres.

Farmers say problems arose because new equipment is larger than that of the past and regulations were out of date.

County council is sending a letter to the province supporting the new regulations.

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