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.”

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Red Deer group looking to keep roads safe for cyclists

A Red Deer cycling group is concerned about road safety after multiple… Continue reading

Smoke and pets do not mix

Take care of your pets during the smoky weather

Former Red Deer lawyer sentenced

Charges included possession of stolen property

Man causes mischief with axe in Ponoka

Arson and attempted break and enter charges laid

WATCH: Raising money for kids at the Gord Bamford Charity Golf Classic

Former NHL players, Olympians, pro rodeo circuit members and musicians teed off… Continue reading

Oilpatch fears delays as U.S. judge orders further review of KXL pipeline route

CALGARY — Potential delays in the completion of the Keystone XL pipeline… Continue reading

‘Queen of Soul’ Aretha Franklin dies at 76

NEW YORK — Aretha Franklin, the undisputed “Queen of Soul” who sang… Continue reading

Arrests in Burnaby, B.C., as order against Kinder Morgan protest camp enforced

BURNABY, B.C. — The RCMP arrested protesters Thursday as officers enforced a… Continue reading

‘Hot and dirty work:’ Commander describes fighting massive Ontario wildfire

BRITT, Ont. — From a helicopter flying over a smouldering swath of… Continue reading

Calgary Fire Department logs record opioid overdose calls in July

CALGARY — The Calgary Fire Department says there were a record number… Continue reading

RCMP in Burnaby, B.C., say Kinder Morgan protest camp to be dismantled

BURNABY, B.C. — The RCMP arrested protesters when officers enforced a court… Continue reading

Study: Smokers better off quitting, even with weight gain

NEW YORK — If you quit smoking and gain weight, it may… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month