Norm Lyster of Lyster farms once again presented his case to the Stettler town council to keep a patch of land near his home as a buffer zone at the council meeting on Tues., April 15.
“It does feel like we’re an inconvenience to the town,” Lyster said, when laying out the reasons why the town should leave the buffer zone.
The town-owned land was designated as a buffer zone between the residential land and the industrial land in the late ‘60s. The town tried to dispose of the municipal reserve in 1993, but the town council overturned that decision with a motion saying that the land would remain as municipal reserve until the Lyster family disposed of the property. CAO Rob Stoutenberg said since the town owns the land, the town is able to sell it.
“The question is, what has changed?” Lyster said. He said since the industrial area is expanding, that means there is more need for a buffer between residential and industrial areas. He spoke of the difficulty of getting renter on his property.
“Do you want to live in a place that’s in an industrial area?” he asked council.
The problem with the dispute is that there are no longer any records for what the purpose of the municipal reserve land was and what the restrictions are around it regarding disposing of the municipal reserve designation and selling it.
“And therein lies the frustration,” Mayor Dick Richards said at the meeting.
Lyster also said that the town has a history of saying one thing and doing something else.
“I take issue with those remarks,” Richards said. “I don’t think the town has a tendency to say one thing and do another.”
Council asked Lyster if the buffer was actually doing anything, as Richards described the area as just having “some falling down trees.”
Lyster pointed out that the distance between his home and the rest of the industrial area helped, and the trees block sound and provide some privacy.
“At the heart of the matter, what does it do for the credibility of the town?” Lyster asked council. “It’s sad when a town takes from a few…the far greater issue is the credibility and ethics of the organization.”
Council decided in a previous meeting to dispose of the municipal reserve, sell the land, and use the funds for parks development in the town, and this has not changed.