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Coalhurst council discuss County development permit

Posted on June 14, 2022 by Sunny South News

By Kenyon Stronski
Sunny South News

Some discussion surrounding a road ban exemption occurred at Coalhurst council’s regular June 7 meeting. It was indicated that council had previously sent their concerns to the Lethbridge County council, and the County did indicate they looked at the concerns, however, they felt that a Traffic Impact Assessment was not required and have moved to finalize the permit.

Coun. Jesse Potrie led the first question, “I thought because of the Municipal Development Plan they have to consider our comments?”

CAO Kim Hauta responded, “We were given the opportunity to provide comments, which we did, but in the actual processes, it was indicated with Diane (Horvath) and myself here they do not have to take them all into consideration if they don’t feel they’re balanced. So as a result, the comeback that they have with the letter which basically says they took them into consideration, looked at some of the scenarios that were presented, and basically felt that they would proceed.”

Potrie then asked how it will impact the roadway, as there is a concern with it potentially being damaged due to heavy traffic.

“We don’t have any information on how that will impact our road,” noted Hauta. “But they determined that with the amount of traffic that it would generate, it was not enough to generate a Traffic Impact Assessment. I’ve had discussions with him in the past about this and they feel that they’ve looked at the makeup of the road and that it will not affect our road substantially with these trucks. On the application, I think he said that most trucks will be 85 to 90 per cent full at the best of times and other than the road bans obviously that’s permissible. With our agreement with the County, there is provision to cost-share road maintenance, but if it gets too expensive I’m going to go and say ‘hey we have to reconstruct’ and that’s a pretty big bill.”

Deputy Mayor Heather Caldwell joined the conversation. “At this point, this new development has nothing to do with the fact that we’re not giving them a waiver right? For when the road ban occurs and that’s usually when the damage is happening is during that season.”

The statement was echoed by Hauta. “At this point, we have given the exemption for the road ban and that’s another discussion that I understand will come up sometime but right now it’s not on the table.”

“I would like if the County takes responsibility for the decision,” said Potrie. “Because we were concerned about the potential impact of heavy truck traffic on the road and because his business is growing — our planner recommended certain actions and we’ve been doing it.”

“Now, the County is not doing it, but I feel we should be doing something to protect our investment beyond just acknowledging this correspondence because that was the reason we recommended what we did in the beginning because we were not sure what the impact would be. I would like to hear what our planner has to say about this topic.”

Hauta responded that he had talked with the planners about it and they aren’t at all surprised at the decision that has been made. “In terms of past concerns that were raised when he was applying for the exemptions around the road bans and different things — and even then the County was indicating it wasn’t that big of an issue — and that our road was built to withstand that many trucks. Other than the Memorandum of Understanding that we do have with the County, which does specify that it is kind of a joint understanding of dealing with some of the maintenance and repairs.”

Potrie then requested for administration to look into what can be done to protect the residents of Coalhurst’s investment in the road.

“I would like to suggest that we are protecting our investment by doing road bans,” said Coun. Deborah Florence. “It is a collective road and it is built on higher standards and so I would disagree. I don’t think that’s necessary because I think that road bans, in practice, are to protect our investment.”

Caldwell then commented, “I think that if you wanted to make a motion to that effect, I think you might find some support. Because it was a significant investment on the Town’s part and I think it’s important that we always pay attention to the agreements that we have around that road and that we ensure that we’re keeping everybody on top of it. I think CAO Hauta is correct in this instance because we have made comments about the heavy truck traffic on our roadway and I don’t think they’ve paid a lot of attention to those concerns and I suspect because it’s common for them to have heavy truck traffic on their roads but I’m not sure what the rationale is and I do think it’s important we keep that dialogue open.”

Potrie clarified that he does not want to drive a stake between Coalhurst council and County council, but he wants agreements to be looked into — he then noted he would like to make a motion on the item.

It was moved that council ask administration to look into the current agreements and see what can be done to further protect the road from potentially being damaged by heavy truck traffic.

It was requested for the vote to be recorded — Mayor Lyndsay Montina, Deputy Mayor Caldwell, Councillors Scott Akkermans and Potrie were in favour while Coun. Florence was in opposition of the motion.

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