Officials divided over drought

Red Deer County councillor Jim Wood says it’s time the municipality joined the growing list of counties that have declared themselves agriculture disaster areas because of drought.

Red Deer County councillor Jim Wood says it’s time the municipality joined the growing list of counties that have declared themselves agriculture disaster areas because of drought.

But some of his council colleagues, including Mayor Earl Kinsella, are not convinced.

Wood said there are many farmers, especially in the eastern part of the county, whose crops have been ruined by drought.

“They are expecting us to acknowledge that we have this problem.

“Us declaring a drought does send a signal to the minister of agriculture that we have a problem within our area,” he said, adding that it doesn’t give the county any extra status.

Wood’s notice of motion to declare the county a disaster area will be debated at the July 21 council meeting.

Wood, who farms in the Elnora area, said the weekend’s rain has come too late for many crops. Some crops have already been written off and cattle sent out to pasture in wheat fields.

“Yes, it’s always welcome to see the rain, but we will never, ever have the volume we need (this year),” he said.

Where 15 to 20 cm (six to eight inches) of rain is typical, many areas have only had five cm (two inches).

Councillor David Hoar farms just east of Innisfail and does not see the point in declaring the county a disaster area. A number of counties across Alberta have declared disasters, including Stettler, Lacombe, Camrose and Flagstaff.

“If there is something that’s going to happen, it will be from the federal and provincial government. So I would like to leave it to them and let them make the decision as to how they wish to deal with it.”

Hoar said he hasn’t heard from any farmers asking the county to declare a disaster area.

Kinsella said he also hasn’t had any requests. Kinsella said he has already sent a letter to the agriculture minister describing the situation in Red Deer County.

He also told the minister if a committee is set up to look at disaster relief, Red Deer County wants to be part of it.

“There’s really nothing for us to do other than to keep tabs on what the province and the federal government are doing, and if there are any benefits to come from them to the farmers, to make sure that we’re included. And we will do that,” said Kinsella.

“If you declare a disaster and there’s an immediate expectation from those who are severely affected by that condition that somehow there will be money coming to them because it’s a disaster.”

Councillor Reimar Poth also has doubts about declaring a disaster.

“We could be looking in two weeks at a flood situation. We don’t know.

“So what do we accomplish by (declaring a disaster)? In my mind, we accomplish nothing that the province and the federal government don’t already know. I don’t see the benefit in it.”

Just Posted

Rural transit service rolled out

2A South Regional Transit will link Innisfail and Penhold with Red Deer

Some Red Deer waste collection schedules change due to holiday season

Tuesday collections will be moved for two weeks

Red Deer ‘champion’ helps hospital by sharing ongoing petition

It’s been about three years since many physicians at Red Deer Regional… Continue reading

Red Deer Airport’s prospects are looking up for 2019

Ultra-low-cost passenger service is on the horizon

Funding down for Red Deer Christmas charities

Food hampers and toys for children going out to those in need

Alberta’s Sundial starts shipping to AGLC this week

Sundial’s Rocky View facility has received the green light from Health Canada… Continue reading

Penny Marshall dead at 75, best known as TV’s Laverne and director of ‘Big,’ ‘A League of Their Own’

Bronx-born Penny Marshall, who found ’70s sitcom success on “Laverne and Shirley”… Continue reading

Chabot scores overtime winner to lift Senators over Predators 4-3

OTTAWA — Thomas Chabot saw an opening and he took it. And… Continue reading

Canadian Marielle Thompson earns World Cup ski cross bronze in season opener

AROSA, Switzerland — Canada’s Marielle Thompson captured bronze at the opening World… Continue reading

Canada doesn’t make Oscars short list for best foreign language film

LOS ANGELES — Canada is no longer in the running for best… Continue reading

Warrant issued for arrest of ‘Schwimmer lookalike’ suspect

LONDON — A British judge has issued an arrest warrant for an… Continue reading

Moneywise: Canadian workers unhappy with pay, want pension plans

Many working Canadians are feeling underpaid and are so worried about their… Continue reading

Brazil police say faith healer has turned himself in

RIO DE JANEIRO — A celebrity faith healer accused of sexually abusing… Continue reading

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

VANCOUVER — Nicola Froese says she has always loved playing sports, but… Continue reading

Most Read