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Stettler County gives second reading to bylaws for controversial Paradise Shores RV Resort

Two councillors vote against bylaws for the proposed high-density development

In a split 5-2 vote, Stettler County council gave second reading to two bylaws paving the way for Paradise Shores RVresort.

Reeve Larry Clarke, along with councillors Ernie Gendre, James Nibourg, Wayne Nixon and Les Stulberg, voted infavour. Councillors Cheri Neitz and Dave Grover voted against, citing it may appear to their ratepayers that they’repushing the bylaws through as a reason.

“We only got this information last night,” said Coun. Dave Grover during council’s regular meeting May 9, referring tothe Villages of Rochon and White sands dropping their dispute against Stettler County for the proposed ParadiseShores RV resort.

“If we ran this through today it looks to us like we snuck it under the map.”

Likewise, Coun. Cheri Neitz agreed.

“It’s like Dave said, we need to have more time for our public to read it. It’s been less than 24 hours.”

Coun. James Nibourg, however, disagreed and said to Coun. Neitz, “But what changes?”

Coun. Neitz replied, “More information is disseminated to our public.”

“But what changes to you?” Coun. Nibourg again asked.

“More information to our public,” reiterated Coun. Neitz.

Coun. Nibourg said he didn’t want to wait and hold a special meeting.

“Each time we have a special meeting it costs upwards of $3,000 to $4,000. I have all the information to make mydecision.”

Coun. Wayne Nixon said they gathered information from various sources and are expected by their ratepayers to“vote intelligently” with the information they were given.

“We have taken flack over the past two to three months from people who were disrespectful to us and still try to keepan open mind, and we promised the two summer villages we would take into consideration all matters raised. Weexpressed all the concerns to the developer. We can’t impose any conditions on them until we have a developmentpermit.

“We need to pony up and we need to vote,” added Coun. Nixon.

Coun. Neitz made a motion to table second reading of the two bylaws until May 16 but the motion was defeated.

Council voted in favour of accepting the minutes of the agreement reached between Buffalo Lake South Shore IDPCommittee and the developer to scale down the development from 1,000 RV lots to 750 lots.

The county previously couldn’t give second reading to the two bylaws after the Summer Villages of Rochon and Whitesands filed objections to the development. The villages said the development was a subdivision rather than an RVresort.

Bylaws get second reading

The two bylaws, one to adopt Paradise Shores Area Structure Plan as a guide for the development, and a bylaw torezone land from agricultural to recreational, were given second reading. Councillors Neitz and Grover voted against.

Council also appointed a committee to participate with Stettler County administration to discuss development permitconditions for Phase 1 of the proposed Paradise Shores Campground. The committee includes Reeve Clarke, Coun.Neitz and Coun. Stulberg.

Opposition to proposed development

In March, about 400 people attended a public hearing in Stettler for the proposed high-density RV development.Twenty people spoke against. Only the developer spoke in favour. The county received 32 letters of support and 121submissions against.

The proposed development is also opposed by a grassroots group of Buffalo Lake area residents led by Darrel Hickeof Calgary. He started an online petition in February that obtained more than 1,000 signatures.

In addition, both Lacombe and Camrose Counties gave Stettler County letters of concern over the project. They saidthe proposed development didn’t comply with the environmental requirements of the Buffalo Lake Inter-municipalDevelopment Plan that requires any changes in land use or development avoid environmentally sensitive areas andimportant wildlife habitat. The opposing counties took issue with the developer not completing requirements of theEnvironmental Review because, to date, the environmental studies only cover Phase I of the development but thedeveloper asked for approval for all three phases.

About the proposed development

Paradise Shores RV Resort, on about 110 acres along Buffalo Lake, is expected to also include a retail store soresidents don’t have to drive to Stettler to purchase items, a clubhouse, restaurant, spa, fitness area, bar, marina, aswimming pool, tennis courts and cottages.

Next steps

Now that the two bylaws received second reading, the county will consult with the summer villages and draftdevelopment permit conditions and start negotiating those conditions with the developer for Phase 1, which includesabout 370 RV stalls. The proposed development still needs approval from Alberta Environment.

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