Marianne Cole, President Clearwater County Taxpayers’ Association
RR #1 Rocky Mtn. House, AB T4T 2A1 firstname.lastname@example.org September 15, 2020
Clearwater County Council Box 550 Rocky Mtn. House, AB T4T 1A4
Following a motion passed at our Clearwater County Taxpayers’ Association meeting last night, Monday, September 14, 2020, I am writing this letter to ask that the Clearwater County Council immediately stop the current review process on the Municipal Development Plan and re-start with open public meetings.
Significant discussion took place and concerns focussed on the following issues:
Public meetings are much more productive and necessary in order for all parties involved (taxpayers, Councillors, County staff, and consultants) to hear/validate the actual concerns, questions, and support/lack of regarding the current policies as well as those proposed.
The short timing of the process does not allow for adequate public engagement. It was noted that the County of Wetaskiwin took 2 years for their MDP review process and allowed for 3 open public meetings strategically held throughout the course of action.
There was real concern for the perceived lack of protection for agricultural land, farming operations, and the rural way of life.
The need for increased sub-division opportunities was questioned when several unused locations are currently available.
The increased cost for services, road maintenance, and rural/”urban” type conflicts with increased subdivisions could off-set any potential benefit from supposed residential tax revenue.
While the following were not mentioned during the meeting they have subsequently been brought to my attention:
Relying so strongly on written submissions for public engagement really impedes the opportunity for ALL taxpayer input. First of all it is VERY TIME CONSUMING, not only to read/gather the information, but then to write a response and submit it. All this at a time when people, especially the farming community, are very busy with haying and harvesting.
Written submissions provide lesser opportunity for open discussion and questions to be addressed.
There are a significant number of taxpayers (predominantly the older generation, but also those with poor internet connection) whose opportunity for gathering information and responding with comments is seriously limited without open public meetings.
Because of all the above concerns I reiterate our request to stop any further action on the MDP review until open public meetings are held. This would allow the most beneficial opportunity for all taxpayers to have adequate input into a document that impacts everyone.
In conclusion, we ask that this letter be added to the up-coming agenda for September 22, 2020 and that the request for public meetings be openly discussed by Council at that time.
We sincerely trust that the voice of the people will be of utmost importance and that Council will respond favorably to our request.
We thank you for your consideration on this matter and look forward to your reply.