County road projects hit snag

A series of road improvement projects prioritized by council last year have hit snags in the planning stages, county director of...

A series of road improvement projects prioritized by council last year have hit snags in the planning stages, county director of engineering Rick Green told council at its Wednesday, March 9 meeting.

The road projects, which are scattered all over the county, would see the county improve roadways. Improvements vary depending on the road, but could include paving, widening, pothole repair, verge repair, extensions and more.

Projects were prioritized by county council and staff last year, with the most important projects at the top of the list, and then listed in descending order.

Green told council that staff are making progress on getting the required landowner permissions where necessary, as well as other related planning necessary to begin the road improvement projects this summer construction season. However, some of the projects already have hit a snag as some property owners have denied the county access to their land.

In these cases, without access, the road improvement project can’t continue, Green said. When staff have run into these snags, they’ve gone on to the next road project on the list.

Bylaw passes first reading

A bylaw requesting the rezoning of an agricultural-zoned parcel of land to commercial was amended to be rezoned to highway-mixed-use and passed first reading.

The owner of the property is looking to sell, and has a buyer. However, when zoned agricultural, certain improvements on the property do not add to the value of the land. If rezoned, those improvements would have value, increasing the value of the land and making the land valuable enough for the buyer to be able to get the necessary loans to purchase the property.

The new owner will be running an agriculture-based operation on the property and the current zoning would fit the intended use of the land, council heard. The current property owner’s lawyer advised him the land’s taxes would remain the same regardless of zoning, but he also noted the new owner would seek to rezone the property as agricultural again should taxes be higher as commercial or mixed-use.

Only councillor James Nibourg voted against the motion, expressing his concern that the new property owner would be back before council asking for the land to be rezoned agricultural as soon as he takes possession.