Large turnout at Public Hearing in opposition of Kneehill landfill | DrumhellerMail
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Last updateFri, 14 Jun 2024 6pm

Large turnout at Public Hearing in opposition of Kneehill landfill

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A full house of residents opposed to a proposed landfill came out at the Public Hearing in Kneehill County on Tuesday, April 23, meeting to voice their concerns.
Waste Connection of Canada (WCC) is proposing a Class 2 Integrated Waste Management Facility (IWMF) in Kneehill County and has applied for a Redesignation of Lands. If Council passes Land Use Bylaw 1895 and 1896, amending Bylaw 1808 to Direct Control (DC) land district, portions of lands classified as Agricultural District, and Local Rural Commercial District, will be classified as DC District.
Kneehill County and IWMF received backlash from residents because most of them received notice of the proposed landfill first, through a third party, then days later a letter came in the mail informing them of the Redesignation of Lands and the Public Hearing. They banded together to spread the word to everyone they could in the County, advising them all to write letters to Council in opposition of the project, who received over 450 of them.
Kneehill County’s Manager of Planning and Development, Barb Hazelton, explained the Redesignation of Lands process, how the County goes about notifying the public and what the project is all about.
“When we receive an application, as Administration, we are required to draft a Bylaw, a process legislated in the Municipal Government Act, we take that Bylaw to Council for first reading and to set the public hearing. We notify adjacent landowners within one mile of the proposed development. Our number one way that we notify our residents is through the Capital (Three Hills newspaper) and the website (kneehillcounty.com).
Planning Consultant, Kristi Beunder, from Township Planning and Design Inc., was joined by Dan Rochette, from WCC, to speak to the public and address their concerns.
“WCC is committed to undertaking safe and environmentally responsible operating practices. Our intention with DC is to provide Council and county stakeholders a level of assurance and comfort that this land use is appropriate here,” states Beunder.
Many of the residents main concerns about having a landfill in their community is that there will be unwelcome noise, traffic, smell and the air quality will diminish. There will likely be an increase in coyotes, skunks and seagulls, with the seagulls potentially spreading Avian Flu to livestock in the area There are concerns about groundwater contamination, the long term effects the landfill will have on residents overall health and that neighbouring landowners property values will be negatively affected.
One of many of those in attendance was Meagan Metzger, a resident who owns and operates a campground right downstream, and within eyesight, from the proposed project.
“We have a recreational place for people to fish, camp and enjoy nature. We are very concerned about the smell that will be travelling, and we are very concerned about the seagulls as well,” expressed Metzger. “It is affecting my business already because I have had some people (seasonal campers) write to me saying that if this landfill is to come, they will probably pull out of the campground.”
As for what happens next, Council will have to decide, most likely through a recorded vote, whether or not to pass the Bylaw.
“Once this Public Hearing is adjourned, we as members of council, will no longer be receiving information on this matter until after we have made this decision,” explains Reeve of Kneehill County, Ken King. “We are going to take some time so the redesignation will be coming back to Council at our first council meeting in May, which will be May 14.”


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