With a work stoppage order issued last week, a spokesperson for the County of Stettler acknowledged that the situation for the Paradise Shores RV development is frustrating for everyone involved.
On May 17th, the Municipal Planning Commission (MPC) issued a stop order after deciding that the developer hadn’t been following through with certain requirements of the Development Permit.
Some leasees have since been saying they feel caught in the middle after hearing the news, and are uncertain of what the future holds for their sites at Paradise Shores.
“I can see how frustrated (developer) Mr. Hamm is with the process and the changes, and the County is frustrated with the (non-compliance) to the conditions so that we can get these leasees back on (track) and get the summer back for them,” said Niki Thorsteinsson, director of communications with the County of Stettler.
“But our hands are bound. We cannot in good conscience let people onto that site now knowing what the state is,” she explained. “We need those reports in.”
On May 2nd, the County held a site inspection to determine compliance with the County’s Land Use Bylaw, according to a press release. Concerns which then led to the stop order included issues connected to utility systems, a lack of a geotechnical report, a lack of plans over stormwater management and landscaping and also that no safety code permits had been provided.
Thorsteinsson said that in a sense, the developer, the leasees and the County are all caught between a rock and a hard place. “Nobody is winning here.”
She also added that on May 23rd, a notice regarding another hearing was posted on the County web site.
“We are convening another Subdivision and Appeal Board hearing on June 5th,” she said.
According to the web site, “An appeal has been received regarding a development permit application deemed refused on land located at NE–20–40-20-W4M.”
The hearing will take place on June 5th at the County office at 10 a.m.
The notice also states that anyone wishing to submit additional information, or who would like to be heard at the hearing, should email firstname.lastname@example.org or provide a hard copy to the board no later than 4:30 p.m. on May 31st.
“I’m also working on a comprehensive map that I’m hoping to get up on the web site next week so leasees, the public and the lake (property) owners all know what this next process is,” she said.
That submitted information from the public for the hearing will be made available on June 3rd on the County’s web site.
In the meantime, the situation may not be resolved anytime soon, she said.
“While I think the public might be hopeful that this will reach a resolution quickly, we’d like to warn them it’s a long process that could go many different ways.
“Hopefully, I can outline that on the map for them,” she said. “Any way it does go, there are many weeks that lie ahead of us in sorting this out.”
Meanwhile, a leaseholder at the development said she feels caught in the middle after hearing news of the work stoppage order at the site.
For Christina Friesen, the current impasse is frustrating as it’s stalling her family’s ability to enjoy time at the site.
“I will say that probably what (County) council is going to see and what people in the County are going to see is that folks who have leases are angry and they are essentially lashing out,” she explained, adding that when the plans for the development were first introduced some residents in the nearby summer villages had serious concerns as well.
She added that some of the responses to the development have even made some of the leaseholders feel like they were under attack.
“For me, I’d like to have my lot at the lake. It’s something my family has looked forward to for a long time,” she said, adding they had always rented a seasonal lease before.