By Nikki Jamieson
Sunny South News
Lethbridge County council is supporting a local fish stocking effort.
During the regular Feb. 7 meeting, Lethbridge County council reviewed a request for support from Trout Unlimited Canada.
TUC is a charitable organization that promotes local opportunities for recreational angling, and through the Alberta Conservation Association (ACA), they have helped stock the McQuillan and McVinnie Reservoirs in the county with rainbow trout for the past 20 years.
“The Trout Unlimited Canada organization, they are, obviously, Canada-wide and they promote and support fish stocking program in our neck of the woods throughout Alberta, through the Alberta Conservation Association, and they have the expertise to do the stocking,” said Larry Randle, director of community services for the county.
To continue the program in 2020, it will cost an estimated $28,000, and they are asking the county for some financial support so they can continue stocking trout in local reservoirs, thus promoting public recreational angling opportunities in the county.
Randle said that a contribution for the program approved by council would be made to the ACA, as TUC plays a more “promotional kind of role”.
The ACA recognizes its partners by including their names and logos on the their website and in other communications, and identify them as playing “a vital role in supporting our work to conserve Alberta’s fish, wildlife and habitat.” Supporting the program would also align with council’s strategic pillars of promoting an outstanding quality of life and developing strong working relationships.
If council chose to make a donation, they could do it from either their discretionary reserve account, municipal reserve account or recreation reserve account. Administration recommended that if council so chooses, they approve an amount from the municipal reserve account, as it has a comparatively high amount of funds which can be used for “a public recreation area” as per section 671 (2)(a) of the Municipal Government Act.
Coun. Steve Campbell asked if one of the rules for municipal reserve was that it has to be county-owned property, or if they were okay as it was a public recreation area. Randle replied that it didn’t have to be a municipal property, but a public recreation area.
“Maybe a lawyer somewhere could argue the point I suppose, perhaps, but the thinking is, body of water in Lethbridge County, accessible to the public, stocked with fish, no individual is somehow going to be able to gain financially by selling anything in the resources that are acquired through the contribution, and that would be the fish,” said Randle. “Maybe you’ll be able to catch one or two fish. Good for you, but it fits broadly under that umbrella we would argue, of public recreation.”
Council unanimously passed a motion to approve a one-time $1,000 donation to the ACA to be provided to support stocking Rainbow trout in the McQuillan and McVinnie Reservoirs in Lethbridge County for public recreational angling, to be funded through the Municipal Reserve account.