Red Deer County rejects cottages proposal for Whispering Pines

Red Deer County has slammed the door on lot owners who hope to build cottages at the Whispering Pines golf resort, located on the west shore of Pine Lake.

Red Deer County has slammed the door on lot owners who hope to build cottages at the Whispering Pines golf resort, located on the west shore of Pine Lake.

During the Municipal Planning Commission’s regular meeting on Tuesday, members turned down a request from Melvin Woitte, who bought his lot with the understanding that he could build a cottage there.

MPC had previously approved construction of a number of cottages in the development, even though the area structure plan allows only RVs and park-model mobile homes, said senior development officer Peggy Lyon in her report.

A cottage is defined as a permanent unit of 990 square feet or less.

“Up to 50 plus or minus permits have been issued for cottages in Whispering Pines. These permits have been issued in error,” said Lyon.

Yet nine more permits were issued on July 7 of this year.

The developer was advised at that time that no more applications would be accepted before the area structure plan is amended, she said.

A plan is in the works but it is not complete, and there is no way of knowing when it will be presented for approval, said Lyon.

Councillor Penny Archibald told Woitte during the meeting that the county has tried without success to play along with Whispering Pines.

“It’s people like you that get hurt. Maybe it’s you getting hurt that will put some pressure on them to pull up their socks and get in here,” said Archibald.

Woitte told MPC he has found it frustrating to watch other cottages go up when he has not been allowed to start work on his own.

“I hired a contractor in early June. I’m now in a situation where I may lose the contractor because of the delays,” said Woitte.

Councillor Jim Wood said lot development has been an ongoing problem at the resort.

“The lots continue to be sold with the expectation that certain types of development will happen in those lots.”

Some cottages were allowed out of compassion, said Wood. But that was supposed to be the end of it, he said.

“I don’t know how to draw a line in the sand and not draw a line in the sand,” he said.

Councillor George Gehrke said Woitte’s situation is “very unfortunate,” but the county MPC has no choice.

“This is up to Whispering Pines to move forward so that people can move forward with their developments. If we keep going one-offs, then there might as well not even be plans,” said Gehrke.

Visibly shaken as he left the meeting, Woitte said afterward that he could offer no further comment.

Whispering Pines representative Larry Dyck was not available for comment on Tuesday.

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