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Last updateTue, 18 Jun 2024 12pm

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.”


MP Damien Kurek reacts to federal budget

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There weren't many surprises in the Federal Budget announced last week for MP for Battle River-Crowfoot Damien Kurek, because everything had already been said.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland delivered the budget on Tuesday, April 16. The Budget focused on building affordable homes, reducing the cost of living and growing the economy.
“All of the details, at least the big selling points were kind of announced across the country in the couple of weeks preceding its release,” he said.
He adds the budget was overshadowed by many other things going on in the capital including the controversy around the ArriveCan app, and the contractor behind the program being admonished by the House of Commons.
"It is almost like it got lost in the mix. From the perspective of the official opposition, it was an interesting place to be because we looked at the budget, listened to the speech, and saw some concerns with it. We sort of knew what some of the themes were before, but then it seemed the government was not focused on, or not willing to spend much time focusing on their budget in the midst of everything else," said Kurek.
One concern always from the CPC is debt.
“The debt-serving cost we knew would be large, and I think it was proven to be so,” he said.
Another aspect of the budget they were focused on was the Canada Disability benefit.
“It was long lauded as something essential and actually saw cross-partisan support, but when the details were announced, it ended up being significantly less than expected. Hearing from some of the pundits and even former Finance Minister Bill Morneau and former NDP Leader Tom Mulcair, there seemed to be a unanimous chorus outside of the Liberal benches, that were saying this is not a good budget.”
He says there are many promises in the budget, but judging by the track record of the government there hasn't been much delivery. What has changed in the last couple of years is housing has become front and center.
“What was very interesting is there seemed to be both from the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minster, an acknowledgement that what they have been doing hasn’t helped and in some cases, has even exacerbated the problem. So now they are throwing money at it and trying to do a few different things, but it seems at this point, the tale will yet to be told if they have any success with that, but it seems like just making announcements saying you are going to do it after nine years, it seems they have lost the credibility to make the claims they can solve the problems.”

Dino-sized attempt at record

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While the result won’t be official for a couple of days, it appears that Drumheller has cemented itself as the Dinosaur Captial of the World, as thousands took to the streets of downtown to break the record for “Largest gathering of people dressed as dinosaurs.”
The count took place at 11 a.m. on April 27, 2024, at the Jurassic Jamboree. Michael Empric, an adjudicator with Guinness World Records out of New York, initially told the Mail that they would be able to confirm the record within minutes of the count, however as more and more participants streamed toward the downtown Plaza, the process of counting became more and more difficult.
Empric told the waiting crowd that to get the most accurate count, they would be sending the data to its London office, including the wristband count and drone footage to be tabulated, with the results forthcoming in a couple of days.
What we know, is the prior Guinness record of 252 was set in Los Angeles, California on January 26, 2019. On Saturday morning, Travel Drumheller and volunteers gave out 3,000 wristbands to participants. People came from all over the province, and in the crowd, there was representation from as far away as Yukon, Nova Scotia and Las Vegas in costume.
Volunteer stewards were amongst the crowd to make sure that participants were in costume and remained so for one minute for the record to count. The designated area for the count could only contain people in costumes.
“I am super overwhelmed, I cannot believe the response. This is way bigger than I ever imagined," said Keri Looijen of Travel Drumheller, of the turnout. “The community support has been incredible.”
The event was quickly planned and grew ever quicker. Despite this, a strong crew of volunteers signed up. Throughout downtown there was music, food trucks and activities.
“I don’t know what we would do without the volunteers. They have been so amazing and helping with everything we needed,” said Looijen.
Empric of Guinness explained the New York office takes care of record attempts throughout North America, and he is typically on the road at least once a week adjudicating similar attempts.
“What I like about this is that it is so appropriate for the community. It is so specific to Drumheller and what the community is about,” said Empric.
When verified, a record holder certificate will be issued.


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