Municipal Planning Commission
Thanks to the wonders of modern telecommunications, plus a certain virus pandemic, we are able to present for the first time ever the proceedings of a Town of Slave Lake Municipal Planning Commission meeting. These meetings are open to the public, but The Leader has never attended. But with the meeting being broadcast live on the town’s YouTube channel and available for viewing there subsequently, we were able to tune in during office hours. The meeting lasted a bit more than 15 minutes; two items were dealt with – a development permit application by Devon Phelps of The Flipside for his micro greens operation and the sudden appearance of a large number of logs on a town industrial property.
MPC members present were Shirley Chykerda (chair), Dan Rooks, Audrey Emes and town councillors Julie Brandle, Shawn Gramlich and Brice Ferguson.
Mr. Phelp’s application for permission to grow food at his 3rd Ave. NE business location had already achieved several levels of approval by town council. This time the MPC was reviewing the development permit application. It passed with flying colours.
“I think you’re ahead of the game on this,” said Chykerda, making the motion to approve.
Samantha Dyck from the town’s planning department informed the group that several truckloads of logs had been stockpiled in a yard on Caribou Trail over a weekend early in April. The trucking company informed the town that due to mill closures and road bans, the logs couldn’t be delivered to their intended destination, so had been temporarily dumped in town. The plan (she was told) was to get the higher-grade ones to the mills and to turn the rest into firewood.
Both uses are problematic, Dyck said. For one thing, the fire chief is concerned about having a large stack of fuel in town. For another, neither the storage nor the firewood uses are permitted in the Land-use Bylaw. Nor were any applications for permission made before the logs were unloaded.
Brandle agreed with the fire hazard concerns.
“We’re right in crunch time for fire season,” she said.
The recommendation was to allow temporary storage until May 30. Would this give enough time? asked Ferguson.
Dyck noted that the logs were all unloaded over 2 ½ days, so “I don’t see a big deal in taking it off in 26 days.”
Council voted in favour of a Chykerda motion to allow temporary storage of the logs to May 30, by which time they must be removed.