Development (and other) issues at Marten Beach

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

M.D. of Lesser Slave River Reeve Murray Kerik mentioned at the Sept. 23 council meeting he and councillor Brad Pearson had met with “some Marten Beachers” who he said are concerned about “dirt being built up.”

Other property owners are apparently unhappy about being turned down by the M.D. for development permits in the flood-prone zone of the hamlet.
“Is there a moratorium?” Kerik asked.

Not as such, said CAO Allan Winarski, “but don’t go above your neighbours’ grade.”

Winarski went on to talk about various complicating issues with regard to development in flood zones. Council will have to deal with that in its Land-use Bylaw review, he said, offering this as a suggestion: “Protect what’s there, but don’t exacerbate your situation.”

The M.D. is waiting for an engineer’s report on flood mitigation measures. Winarski acknowledged a drainage plan for the lower part of the hamlet is also needed, but would be dependent on the mitigation measures (if they happen).

Then there’s the notion of buyouts and relocations to higher ground, which reeve Kerik said he thinks should still be kept on the table as a possibility.
“If we get three to five million (for mitigation), wouldn’t it be cheaper to open some land and move houses?”

“To get Crown land is a real bugger,” Winarski said.

It may not be out of the question though. Councillor Robert Esau said he had been talking to an official with Alberta Environment and Parks who thinks some sort of land swap should be do-able. Esau suggested that individual should be invited to make a presentation to council.

In the meantime, Winarski said the M.D. is telling anyone who wants to build in the area, “You are going to get flooded out.”

At the end of the day, Winarski continued, “it may be cheaper to buy out some of them.”

The flood mitigation report from the engineering firm is expected in October.

Nature has its way: Hwy. 88 washout in July 2019 near Marten Beach.

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