By Nikki Jamieson
Sunny South News
Lethbridge County council is considering the sale and closure of a unused road allowance west of the airport.
During their regular Feb. 14 council meeting, Lethbridge County council reviewed a proposed bylaw to close and sale portions of an unused road allowance on SE & NE-18-8-21- 4.
The area in question is commonly referred to the Hastings Subdivision, located west of the Lethbridge Airport.
According to document provided by administration, Jason and Michael Hastings wish to close, purchase and consolidate portions of an unused road allowance on SE & NE-18-8-21-4. The county’s municipal services department does not see the county utilizing any future use of the undeveloped right-of-way, and Jason agreed to consolidate the right-of-way into his parcel of land that borders the river. The road closure in question would affect 2.72 acres.
The owner of this property will be responsible for all survey and registration costs. The cost to purchase and consolidate this road, as provided by the Lethbridge County assessor, is $4,080. Administration recommended that council perform first reading of the bylaw.
“The reasons for this recommendation, Mr. Hastings can add this to his parcel to increase it’s value, municipal services is following council’s direction to sell unused road right-of-ways,” said Scott Tollestrup, project technologist for the county.
Reeve Lorne Hickey asked if any neighbouring land-owners had raised any objections. Tollestrup said he didn’t hear back from one neighbor, but he believed “the public hearing process would take care of any objections they’ve had”.
Noting it wasn’t directly related to this matter, coun. Tory Campbell asked Tollestrup to speak to the process of road closure and consolidation, adding he had received a few inquiries about it.
“I have to get approval from the CAO, the director of municipal services, superintendent of public works, Alberta Transportation, and that’s just to start,” said Tollestrup. “Before we can even go to first reading, (there are) several engineering feats that have to take place. We have to write a bylaw, we have to do a survey on the ground to get the legal description, all has to be approved by Alberta Transportation. That’s all before first reading.”
After first reading, the public hearing has to be advertised for two weeks. After the public hearing, it would need approval from the minister of transportation, and once that is granted, council can give it second and third reading. After third reading, it goes to land titles, and it can take up to six weeks to do their approval process. The county needs to get a formal ownership declaration from the landowner and an affidavit of value, all which need to be witnessed and signed off by the county’s commissioner for oaths.
“You can see there’s dozens of steps that have to be checked off before we can get approval, and each of those steps takes significant amount of time.”
Rick Bacon, director of municipal services for the county, added that’s if the whole process goes smoothly, adding if there is an objection from Alberta Transportation or an adjoining landowner or an issue from the surveyor, it could add months to the process.
Tollestrup said that he can forward the procedure list to council, which he said was “quite onerus”.
“We have stated our problems to AT in the past, and they’re unsympathetic. It’s follow the procedure to the letter of the law, provide us with everything we require or we won’t approve your closure,” said Tollestrup.
Council unanimously passed a motion to perform first reading of the bylaw.