Notes from Council, August 31, 2022

Dear Residents & Ratepayers,

August had two meetings of County Council. Much progress has been made on the new industrial park as well as on road construction and maintenance for 2022, this despite some equipment being down for repair.

I was able to work with a division resident on proposing a land use bylaw amendment that would have allowed large cisterns and sceptic tanks for five years prior to the development of a primary structure (excluding the hamlets, being intended for reservoir vicinity or rural general). While we were not successful in moving this bylaw to public hearing, there are understandable reasons why Council took this position and the discussion with Council remained very worthwhile; the planning department is always open to discussing how our land use bylaw might be amended. These conversations are important for all stakeholders in the development and planning process. If you have ideas or concerns regarding Vulcan County’s development standards, please feel free to bring them forward to me. If I can see the merits of your case, I am happy to assist in refining and presenting it to the rest of County Council. Either way, I’m always happy to have a conversation regarding these matters.   

I was also able to work with the folks at Lake McGregor Country Estates to see if county policy could be expanded to provide some aggregate material (i.e. gravel) for large established grouped residential communities. Going forward, there is now an assessment-based formula whereby the amount provided at no cost is defined in policy, providing a needed resource for communities where a significant tax base exists. Seed plant cooperatives have qualified for a similar program over many years, all of which has now been updated in county policy. While the tonnages contemplated will not hinder the seasonal operations of public works, this policy will help maintain infrastructure for entities that promote economic activity and community growth.

County Council is considering a linear tax incentive program to attract large energy projects, including traditional oil and gas development. It will not apply to projects where a development permit has already been issued and the project must exceed $100,000,000 worth of investment. The program will propose holding the mill rate at 10 mills, allowing the project to predict one of their largest expenditures with some certainty over, say, a ten-year period. The program will also allow Vulcan County to establish certain standards of development that must be maintained in order to keep the agreement in place. We welcome your interest in a forthcoming Open House and look forward to garnering your feedback.

Also, a bylaw was amended regarding the Vulcan County Regional Emergency Management Partnership. We are eagerly awaiting “Ministerial Approval” of this necessary partnership.

Harvest is well-underway in Vulcan County and, despite the heat, we have been fortunate to avoid many fires. Hopefully this trend continues and the crop comes off without significant difficulty, although grass hoppers have certainly been a challenge this year.


Christopher Northcott

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