Information Update on Prairie Gardens

Published on Sep 23, 2022

As of September 23, 2022, Prairie Gardens has submitted required technical information and committed to various safety conditions for the duration of the 2022 season. Sturgeon County has supported its interim plans, and Prairie Gardens has communicated an intent to re-open its commercial operations.

Starting September 23, Prairie Gardens can resume intensive agriculture operations, including greenhouse, u-pick and market gardens. It may also conduct agritourism operations including corn maze, hayrides, and other small-scale events for the remainder of the 2022 season.

Prairie Gardens will:

  • Make safety improvements that align with Alberta Transportation guidelines to ensure safe movement of vehicles to and within its sites, manoeuvring of vehicle types, traffic movements, traffic volumes, and vehicle speeds.
  • Make safety improvements for parking and property access and impose restrictions on pedestrian movement between its two sites.
  • Adopt revised operating hours between 8 a.m. and 9:30 p.m.
  • Growing agribusiness operations, like Prairie Gardens, are important to the community and the County remains committed to helping them succeed.

These new safety measures will be in place until the end of 2022. Sturgeon County will continue working with Prairie Gardens as they implement land use and safety requirements prior to the 2023 season.

Background

On August 17, 2022, Sturgeon County served notice to Prairie Gardens that the stop order issued in October 2021 was being enforced with adjusted restrictions (occupancy and hours of operation limits). This was due ongoing public safety concerns and non-compliance with previous commitments to submission deadlines, occupancy limits during defined hours, and requirements to confirm parking, traffic, and access improvements.

This meant Prairie Gardens was not able to continue intensive agricultural operations, including greenhouse, u-pick, and market gardens, or agritourism operations including corn maze, hayrides, and other small-scale events. The stop order did not limit Prairie Gardens’ ability to raise and cultivate crops and livestock. It was also able to continue with small-scale consumer visitations and product sales, provided those activities occurred on their property and within the daily visitor limit.

Supporting agribusiness and agritourism

Sturgeon County is actively working to support producers in diversifying their revenue sources through agribusiness and agritourism activities. Learn more at sturgeoncounty.ca/AgriReview.

Thank you for your comments.

We have prepared the following information in response to your comments regarding Prairie Gardens.

For more information, you can also watch Mayor Alanna Hnatiw’s interview with Ryan Jespersen on August 29, 2022.

  • Why did the County take this action against Prairie Gardens? 

    Sturgeon County received multiple complaints in recent years related to Prairie Gardens including, but not limited to, the following:

    • noise from the property
    • high volumes of traffic accessing and leaving the site, at times in an unsafe manner
    • trespassing by visitors and guests onto neighbouring properties
    • vehicle and pedestrian traffic issues, including pedestrians walking and/or vehicles parking on the highway
    • failure to meet Alberta Safety Codes requirements to ensure public safety

    Sturgeon County had been working with Prairie Gardens for years to help them resolve permit and public safety issues; these efforts started long before a stop order was issued in fall 2021. Even after issuing the stop order, the County entered into an agreement with Prairie Gardens that would allow them to continue operations while taking the necessary steps to address the public safety issues and permitting requirements.

  • Vehicle traffic/parking concerns

    Prairie Gardens can accommodate parking for roughly 100 vehicles (50 at its main entrance and 50 in its overflow parking area). This did not provide enough parking space for visitors, especially at peak times.

    When there wasn’t available parking space in these lots, visitors often parked along Lily Lake Road – a single-lane highway with narrow shoulders. To reach the main entrance, those parking in the overflow area or on the road had to walk along Lily Lake Road for more than five-minutes, or nearly half a mile. This posed a significant public safety risk.

    Parking on Lily Lake Road is not allowed according to section 43(2) of the Traffic Safety Act, which is provincial legislation.

  • Pedestrian safety concerns

    Video provided to Sturgeon County

    As you can see in the above video, the vehicle traffic/parking issues created safety concerns for pedestrians visiting the farm. As there isn’t enough parking on the main property, people had to park in the overflow lot and then walk along Lily Lake Road to access the main Prairie Gardens entrance. This walk is more than five minutes, at nearly half a mile. The shoulders of the road are narrow and there is limited space for pedestrians and vehicles to share the road safely.

  • Did the County work with Prairie Gardens to resolve issues before their season?

    Sturgeon County worked with Prairie Gardens for years to assist them in resolving permit and public safety issues. These efforts started long before a stop order was issued in fall 2021. Even after issuing the stop order, the County entered into a legal agreement with Prairie Gardens that would allow them to continue operations while taking the necessary steps to address public safety issues and permitting requirements.

    Prairie Gardens breached the agreement – which the County offered voluntarily. In response, Sturgeon County placed new limits on occupancy and hours of operation to better support public safety and regulatory compliance.

  • Why did Sturgeon County limit vehicle/visitors to Prairie Gardens?

    As part of its decision to enforce the stop order, Sturgeon County limited attendance at Prairie Gardens to 100 vehicle trips per day between 9:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. This ensured there was enough parking space available so visitors didn’t have to park or walk along Lily Lake Road to reach the entrance of Prairie Gardens.

    In addition, this reflected the traffic limits set by Alberta Transportation. Alberta Transportation sets these limits using a technical calculation based on how much traffic is expected. This calculation is done at the time of development, and determines how wide a road should be, what it should be constructed with, whether there should be turn lanes, etc. When Lily Lake Road was constructed, it was not designed for the large number of vehicles passing through the area to access Prairie Gardens.

  • Who is responsible for traffic improvements near Prairie Gardens?

    Traffic improvements are the responsibility of business owners when their business is the source of increased traffic. Traffic improvements can include road and parking upgrades to meet the demand their business is creating. For example, if a business expects a lot of vehicles coming to and from their business throughout the day, they may be required to pay for a new turning lane so vehicles can access the property safely.

    For clarity, farmers who have traditional agricultural activities would not likely have to provide for these types of improvements as their operations generally do not generate significant visits from the public. It is only when the activities move beyond traditional farming and attracts hundreds of visitors a day would this become a consideration, and when these activities need to be considered in terms of neighbour quality of life.

  • Why is a 2021 “Stop Order” being used in 2022?

    Sturgeon County issued a stop order in the fall of 2021, which was appealed by Prairie Gardens to the County’s Subdivision and Development Appeal Board. The appeal board, which includes Sturgeon County residents, supported the County’s decision to give the stop order, so it remained in effect. As the appeal board is a quasi-judicial body, the County is bound to its terms.

    The County chose not to enforce the stop order only if Prairie Gardens complied with a legal agreement that would allow Prairie Gardens to continue operating. Prairie Gardens breached the agreement and in response, Sturgeon County placed new limits on occupancy and hours of operation to better support public safety and regulatory compliance.

  • Concerns about a loss in fundraising for Every Child Matters

    It is unfortunate that Prairie Gardens chose to close their operations after Sturgeon County enforced the stop order, instead of allowing access to the properties within the 100-person limit per day that was allowed.

    Sturgeon County is committed to Indigenous Relations, as demonstrated through the Relationship Agreement we have with Alexander First Nation and our recent commitments towards Truth and Reconciliation. We continue to explore opportunities to support Indigenous Peoples including through the joint committee with Alexander First Nation.

    We encourage people to show their support by donating to the Orange Shirt Society and learning more about the impact of residential schools on Indigenous Peoples. Below are some resources:

  • Timeline of actions

    • Prior years: Sturgeon County requested Prairie Gardens address permit and infrastructure concerns related to land use, building safety codes, parking, access and intersections, and related public safety issues. Numerous safety and nuisance complaints were received and investigated over time.
    • October 15, 2021: As a result of the validated complaints, the County issued a stop order. Instead of enforcing the stop order, the County entered into a legal agreement – a forbearance agreement – with Prairie Gardens so they could continue operating while taking steps to address the public safety and permitting issues. The forbearance agreement set daily vehicle and visitor limits, outlined necessary safety measures and detailed information submission requirements.
    • November 23, 2021: Prairie Gardens appealed the stop order with the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board (SDAB).
    • December 3, 2021: The SDAB issued its decision to uphold the stop order and the terms of the forbearance agreement, and set the deadline to comply with conditions to Oct. 22, 2022.
    • August 13 and 14, 2022: Sturgeon County received new complaints related to safety and nuisance issues. Through the investigation of these concerns, the County verified that Prairie Gardens did not comply with the conditions of the forbearance agreement. It did not comply with the daily vehicle and visitor limits, measures to address pedestrian and vehicle safety, and submission-related conditions.
    • August 17, 2022: Sturgeon County served notice to Prairie Gardens that the stop order issued in October 2021 would be enforced because Prairie Gardens breached conditions of the forbearance agreement. Instead of imposing a full closure of public-facing services, Sturgeon County expanded conditions, imposing a daily limit of 100 visitors between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
    • August 2022: After being notified that Sturgeon County would enforce the stop order, Prairie Gardens announced its intention to stop operations.
    • September 23, 2022: Prairie Gardens submitted information requested over several months, and Sturgeon County quickly reached an agreement so Prairie Gardens can resume its operations for the rest of the 2022 season.  For 2023, intersection and parking upgrades that will ensure the safety of the public are required.  

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47 Responses

Thank you for "thinking outside the box" in a good path forward- working collaboratively w Prairie Garden to continue their heartfelt work in moving forward with Truth and Reconciliation.

Posted by Dianne M.

This is terrible. I took my kids to this almost every year for 10 years. Was a traditional October event for pumpkins and scarecrow making. The county obviously just wants a bigger cut of the profits. Organized crime at its best!

Posted by Ben S

It’s about time the county did something about the unsafe highway conditions around prairie gardens. The status quo meant waiting until someone died. As enjoyable as the business is to have around, they don’t have the right to expect that to be okay. Just fix the issues, people!

Posted by Diane

I love Prairie Gardens and support them fully. Sturgeon County needs to do better. After 2.5 years of covid which severely restricted activity everywhere it is a crime that Prairie Gardens is singled out due to its success. It is definitely not going to be viable with less than 100 people a day allowed and only for restricted use. As to the reference to Lilly Lake Resort by Chief Fake Cerokee commenter, Prairie Gardens does not have overnight accommodations for any visitors. The one or two private weddings held each year are less than 100 people who come to enjoy the farm experience and old fashioned fun. Seriously not a threat to the Lilly Lake Resort who boasts hosting 60 plus weddings a year. I was excited that someone decided to renovate and develop the Lilly Lake Resort and bring something worthwhile to the neighbourhood, work together to support business in the area. I was certainly not expecting them to feel threatened by a small farm and agritourism business like Prairie Gardens. I was quite shocked to find that out when they spoke at the last public hearing. I'm a firm believer in community building and supporting each other. I'd also like to speak to the anonymous commenter who complained about manure being dumped on their property. The manure is sewage from the city a d surrounding area, mixed with runoff and all kinds of heavy metal. If you actually checked your facts you wouldn't be too happy with someone dumping toxic waste on your property and not being able to have animals or grow any food on or nearby for years and the runoff of water is not to impact any wells, or flow across swales and into dugouts or places where food grows. E###r failed abysmally and Prairie Gardens protected not only their farm but the many other farms that would have been detrimentally affected by this toxic sewage sludge dump to continue. Tam is an honorable woman and will help you any way she can. Support Prairie Gardens and the woman who has done everything possible to create a safe and fun place to bring your families

Posted by Deborah

I appreciate the passion from everyone that replied(pros and cons). Don't lose that passion. Please contact the farm with your suggestions on how to help a small business that has outgrown their space. A request for help from the farm to its supporters on the restrictions imposed last year should have come sooner. Please help this thriving business solve its growth issues by offering your suggestions. It's unfair to expect the county and surrounding neighbors to carry this burden.

Posted by Help solve the issues

I have loved Prairie Gardens for decades and am extremely disappointed in Sturgeon County council. When the council decided to pull this media stunt to besmirch and denigrate a long standing business in the county I lost all respect and confidence in their ability to make sound choices for our community. Shame on you Sturgeon County. Prairie Gardens has worked very hard to get everything in place to comply with the new rules imposed by the county. In light of loss of revenue during 2.5 years of covid the farm still tried to complete the work needed for compliance and provide work for employees and keep food on the tables of many. Shame on the county for not supporting a business that not only provides local food but also provides an invaluable experience for families, schools and our community. School programs and upick tours where children come to learn about where their food comes from, how to dig up potatoes and pick beans, how to plant a tree or a tomato, how to pull weeds and take care of the land. Giving kids and families an opportunity to be outside on a farm and pick their own vegetables or buy some fresh picked veggies at the small farm market. Building a maze to build community and build relationships by teaching about Every Child Matters , truth and reconciliation with an indigenous elder on site. Sturgeon County saying no to ceremonies, and community building initiatives is punitive and dismissive. Shame on you Sturgeon County for once again shutting down something as important as an opportunity for people to learn about and interact with indigenous communities on this very important topic, "every child matters" I hope that the county realizes their mistakes and stops picking on a business that make a difference. I know the county is complaint driven but I'd like to suggest that the county should look at the positive things going on and support businesses that build community and provide jobs as well as provide an important service for the county, the province.Boosting the economy, being proud of our community, supporting family friendly opportunities and experiences. Instead of making it harder to provide farm experiences for families, make it easier! Support families, support farms, support community. Places like Prairie Gardens should be in every county!

Posted by Deborah Bee

As with any situation, there are two sides to the "story." It's beyond unfortunate that the public, who have supported this business for decades, have not been given ALL the information about what Prairie Gardens has done to comply with the regulations etc. Why is it that a individual, loud, repetitive complainant can have such negative power? Let's put some traffic issues into perspective. There are approximately 8-10 days a year which sees large crowds seeking the farm atmosphere surrounding harvest. Compare that to a typical school that hosts large numbers of people at certain times of the year - e.g. meet the staff, first day of school drop offs, awards ceremonies, Christmas concerts, parent/teacher/student interviews, graduation, etc. The traffic increases significantly in the area, parking spills over in the residential areas... you get the idea. How is Prairie Gardens really much different in this aspect. I am disheartened to be a resident of a rural, agricultural community that has a mayor and councillors that do not support an Agri Business.

Posted by Nora

Twenty years ago the County of Sturgeon ‘s economic development officer approached Prairie Gardens and invited them to attend a presentation by Travel Alberta on Ag-Tourism. I know this, as I was also asked to attend (Pottery by Heather). Ag-tourism was the buzz word at the time and Sturgeon County wanted us to jump in. And we did! The County supported us in the development of the self driving tour The Country Soul Stroll. The county backed this project as it grew from year to year. And Prairie Gardens grew, and won accolades and awards and the county ensured they were always there along side taking whatever credit they could for Prairie Gardens successes, whether they actually helped out or not. That ag tourism initiative spread to all the counties surrounding the city of Edmonton and the Edmonton Regional Tourism group was formed , and the Visit Edmonton’s Countryside guide was published for about ten years. My point in this is….it was the County that pushed for Prairie Gardens to go down this road as a farm. It was always the County that would show up when she received awards (Woman of the Year) and too many others to list here, but the county did nothing over the years to set in place directives and guidelines to allow for this kind of business to operate within the county. So now that Prairie Gardens has become so very successful, locally , nationally and internationally known, they still have no specifics in place. Twenty years later, businesses such as Prairie Gardens and others looking to stay on their farms by going the ag-tourism route are still waiting for specifics to guide them. My personal opinion is that the posting of the press release a few weeks ago was dirty pool. The county and Prairie Gardens were working through the issues. Making all of this public was done to besmirch Prairie Gardens name publicly. I am sure that over the years there have been many issues arise in the county that have been ongoing, but none of them were sent to every media outlet, with insinuating language. I truly do not understand the reasoning behind this public shaming of a business that they pushed so hard to go this route. There must be politicking happening that no one will ever be privy to. And that is sad. Heather Edwards Pottery by Heather

Posted by Heather Edwards

Tired of the whining when it comes to the restrictions imposed on Prairie Gardens. The owner has no problem complaining and wanting restrictions on the farms around them when the want to spread manure on their land etc but complains when she is called on her non compliance. Rules and guidelines are there for the safety of everyone. As a person that lives in this neighbourhood I have no problem with the county imposing restrictions!

Posted by Anonymous

On the Sturgeon County website it states: Sturgeon County is home to 185 kilometres of secondary roads and 1,776 kilometres of local roads. Transportation crews strive to improve the quality and extend the life of county roads, keeping them drivable and safe.

Posted by Susan Eve Heschel

Sturgeon County, I have a question. I live in St. Albert, Jensen Lakes Community on St. Albert Trail. Costco is just down the road. That store brings in a lot of traffic would you listen to me if I complained about how much traffic Costco draws to our community? You would laugh at my complaint! Instead you have St. Albert Trail traffic backed up for two years to widen the road so that more customers can drive to Costco "SAFELY!" meanwhile I can not cross the intersection safely because the walking sign does not work! Perhaps it is on Sturgeon County to facilitate a roadway to Prairie Gardens Adventure Farm to ensure that their thriving business and their customers will have safe passage on Lily Lake Road. It is on you Sturgeon County, you have videoed and posted that you have not supplied safe roadways for the Sturgeon County Community. It looks like you have a roadway to widen and a turning lane to add and since Prairie Garden's will continue to grow and our community will continue to support this family business you might as well add traffic lights because by you making such a big deal about this it will be busier than you will ever know.

Posted by Susan Eve Heschel

Prairie Gardens has always been a hot mess. I have supported the business in the past but each visit has shown me that it is disorganized and extremely money hungry. Reading through the comments has clearly revealed that it is the same group of people making several different posts. We live on Lilylake Road and the parking situation of Prairie Gardens has always been stressful and disruptive to my commute and regular drive. While I was annoyed to see the new speed limit imposed, I understand that it is for the greater good and safety of people. This business should absolutely have to pay for a proper turn off like Lilylake Resort has done in the past. This is a business that is purely based on gaining profit and they failed to follow the guidelines provided by the government. This has nothing to do with Truth and Reconciliation Day and there are several more reputable avenues where people can donate should they wish (although they should 100% do research on WHERE, WHAT and WHO they are donating too..) The fact that Prairie Gardens didn't sacrifice a portion of their HUGE land (or use some of the owners land across the street..) baffles me. They over extended themselves while fully understanding the stop order that was placed at the end of the 2021 season. This is 100% on Prairie Gardens and I am glad that they are being treated the same as any other community members.

Posted by Chief Grand Cherokee

I'm shocked so many people think this is the county trying to shut them down. Prairie Gardens chose to not change and improve what safety concerns were brought forward. They had nearly a year and weren't compliant. They can be open to 100 people per day. They decided to voluntarily close instead of still being available to the public. They are choosing to loose this revenue. Hopefully both sides can work together to make this a safer place.

Posted by Sam

Whether a business succeeds or fails should be up to the business and it's customers, not the county. A 100 person limit and no events is the county putting it's finger on the scale to destroy the business. This is wrong. If the business hasn't addressed issues it doesn't mean the requirements are fair, necessary or even legal. The county should get out of the way.

Posted by Susan

Intrusive govt overreach again. A business that is so popular is a threat to whom? The business has no control over the public behaviour! Give your head a shake people. Since when can a business that is open 12 hours a day limited to only 100 visitors? Interfering in free enterprise is WRONG. This is CANADA!

Posted by Wendy Busch

I am wondering if the Sturgeon County can offer some help for a business that employees many local people and has survived the pandemic closures. I understand the safety concerns for the public with parking. Is there a bus in the county that could be donated to help? As far as numbers go, it is difficult to control when they get so many walk ins. Turning away a family with 4 kids would be extremely difficult even if a reservation was required and they didn't know. Please Sturgeon county board, help with solutions! Business like Prairie Gardens deserve saving!

Posted by Karen

I am shocked so many people think after seeing the video of traffic on the side of the highway and all those people walking is ok. As a mom of small children I know how all to easy it would be for someone not to be paying attention and have someone seriously hurt or killed. This facility has ran for years, they have brought in a lot of revenue and have no upgraded much throughout those years other then adding more tourist attractions. If they provided shuttle service, if they paid to make a highway run out, if they increased there parking by removing some fields etc. the county wouldn’t be so upset. How would one respond if this fun event turned into a tragedy of someone getting hit by a vehicle? The county is trying to protect residence from dangerous things from happening. Yes it is unfortunate for a business to shut down in high season but they had a year to make improvements and they refused. Seems a bit petty to close your whole business down when you can spend some money to make operations safe for your guests. Perhaps this will help upgrade and give prairie gardens the push to improve the health and safety of their facilities that have not been upgraded since I can remember.

Posted by Anonymous

Well no Every Child Matters Well and no Ceremonies as it says Above well human Rights says they will follow up on my Complaint and also Mla talking to them they will follow up also and the Minister of Culture Now I am going to talk to the Minister of Agriculture also and the Minister of Tourism so this should get Interesting real fast when an aboriginal elder is told they cannot preform ceremonies the Minister of aboriginal affairs is getting an ear full now and when the 15 chiefs of treaty ^ territory see what is really going on it will not be took to kindly but hey thanks for all that you are teaching me Oukcha hotusk myo myo of the coast salaish tribe of the Sliammon Band aborigianal Elder in Residence At Prairie Gardens Truth and reconciliation Day is September 30 2022 so is Every Child Matters so the world will see how you are with race relations to Natives all around the world

Posted by Bill Bertschy Chief Standing Bear

how much revenue has Sturgeon county lost over this how much money has the taxpayers paid over this how much longer is this going to keep going on crops wroughting in fields Every child matters maze people laid off i bought my gas in sturgeon county my lunch stuff and so did the other 25 workers but not since im laid off they money that Every child Matters lost is inconcievable because we have a sign up and an app that they could donate directly to the Every Child Matters Campain Truth and reconiliation it is not taxpayers money wasted human rights violations laid off workers tax revenue lost great job MAYOR and COUNCIL

Posted by bill

Prairie Gardens has been a steward of the land, they have educated young kids by allowing them dig, plant, pick and eat fresh vegetables. They have supplied our restaurant with vegetables for 10 years and we have made memories on their farm through farm dinners, staff education and promoting the bounty of our province. To not work with and encourage this type of farming is beyond thoughtless and does a huge disservice to the county. Not to mention the vast tourism drawn to the area by Prairie Gardens, these actions by the county are also a slap in the face to the hard working locals who have benefited from the property along with thousands of visitors.

Posted by Blair Lebsack & Caitlin Fulton

I have attended Gardens such as Prairie Gardens with corn mazes and fresh vegetables is such a wonderful venue ! It saddens me greatly that after over two and a half years of covid restrictions that nearly crippled many small businesses and did shut down many others, that this small business, family owned, has to endure even more financially crippling regulations. There has to be another way to figure out how to keep this seasonal business afloat? attracting many tourists to the area such a wonderful educational experience down the tubes due to small bureaucratic thinking. Keeping in mind that: Public Safety and parking also needs to be addressed work with this business and save the crop that's going to rot in the fields. Time for out of the box thinking....thanks for allowing the comments.

Posted by Jennifer Willick

We have visited farms such as Prarie Gardens in the past and were proud that places like this were still around. It saddens me greatly that the nonsense continues and the people we elect have nothing better to focus on that killing small business. Please reconsider this decision, the season is short, this is tragic, especially after all the dumb decisions over covid nonsense! Protocols and evasive " protections" have slaughtered most small businesses! It's time to let people who were desperately hanging on, recover. Please and thanks Think of your constituents and their livelihoods. We ALL matter, not just the big box stores. Yours respectfully, Jennifer

Posted by Jennifer.Willick

It’s sad to know that our local authorities of Sturgeon County have come to a decision to destroy a business that brings so much joy to everyone. While I can understand there being complaints relating to traffic, this burden should not be entirely imposed upon the farm to manage. People break rules. That’s why we have laws. And that’s why these laws are enforceable with tickets. I hope the county is capable of working out the issues on a positive note rather than a blanket shut down of Agro-tourism (it’s not just a farm). Work with the community, not against it.

Posted by Brandon

They had almost a year to fix their deficiencies and they did not. The county should shut them down completely until all concerns have been addressed.

Posted by William

Using a 2021 stop order to prevent this from happening is a cold move. If there was going to be an issue this season it should have been discussed much earlier so it could have been rectified earlier. So many things have changed since then and it was reasonable to consider that the 2022 season would be an opportunity to refresh things. The effort that went into this is important. It was an act of grieving and reconsilliation and closing it down is harmful to those needed acts. Please reconsider and rectify immediately.

Posted by Tigris Moon

During this time of Canada's history when things are moving toward Truth and Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples; it is a shame (and a backward step) to shut down a place where all children, families and people can hear teachings and ask questions from Native Elders to learn truths about Canada's history and develop healthy relationships in moving forward. I hope Sturgeon Council can "think outside the colonial box" and find a way with Prairie Gardens to continue the way forward for children and families to learn, grow and then share true Canadian history and "walking together" on the path forward. This could be an enriching and unique educational and experiential opportunity for children and families.

Posted by Dianne

I’ve previously been to Prairie Gardens with my family. It’s such a wonderful, affordable experience. I’m saddened that they have been so severely restricted this year. Especially with the addition of the Every Child Matters corn maze and Elder support on site this year. It’s an invaluable opportunity for people, especially our youth, to learn about the harms that Residential Schools inflicted on Indigenous people and the continuing intergenerational trauma that lingers today. As awareness of this trauma increases, there must be steps made to repair relationships between Indigenous people and municipalities (like Sturgeon County). And in situations like this, the steps towards reconciliation have to come from Sturgeon County, as you clearly hold all the power. Indigenous people just want to be heard, and our experiences valued. The honor that Prairie Gardens has bestowed on the a every Child Matters movement should not be quashed. This company worked with an Indigenous Elder to raise awareness in the best capacity that they were able to. It’s now up to Sturgeon County to find its own way to find out how actual, tangible action towards reconciliation can happen and support this endeavor for awareness. Please do not let this opportunity for awareness go to waste. Because there is no guarantee that the Elder working on this project will be here to try again next year, or that anyone else will even want to try again after the disappointing experience this year.

Posted by Tyler

It is time to put petty politics aside and let this family-friendly farm continue bringing joy, education, and produce to so many. Why should this business be confined or restricted by the choices of a few who don’t care where they park? That is out of their control. The same increased and inconvenient traffic volumes happen regularly at many farmers markets all over and you don’t take that same heavy-handed approach on every vendor. Why? Because you encourage the draw to your local community. It is good for business. Working on traffic flow solutions for circumstances beyond their control seems like a more logical approach instead of killing yet another local business and forcing those interested in fresh air and fresh produce to get their produce from a box store, educating virtually in front of a screen and youth hanging out at the mall because you have eliminated yet another opportunity to get outside and experience our farming communities learning about nature while making joyful memories. Closing down just before or during harvest time letting everything rot in the fields is nothing more than shameful and shows poor leadership decision-making ability. Do better.

Posted by Debbie Gervais-Arbane

From the Netherlands I looked with great interest and admiration what many people created through a lot of hard work. Making a beautiful Every child matters corn maze and creating a beautiful painted tipi in memory of all the poor children. It was beautiful and I was happy to talk about it in this part of the world. And now I have found out that you have forced the Prairie Gardens Adventure Farm to shut down? Why? Why did you do that? Such a wonderful initiative surely deserves better then that! Why are children not allowed to use the maze? Why is the memory of the children not honored ? Is the food wasted that grows on the farm? Why take away their income? Why waste the hard work of so many? I really think it is a disgrace for a great country like Canada. And so I ask you politely to reconsider your decision.

Posted by Esther de Gilde

They have been open this many years and now restrictions are put in? Sturgeon County, do better to support the community! How about bylaw patrolling the area and actually giving the people who park in ditches and on the road a fine instead! We are ashamed of you on this one Sturgeon County!

Posted by Leanne

I find this to be absolutely ridiculous businesses are not responsible for how people drive and where they park . There must be a solution that does not have people laid off and to let food go to waste. Shame on Sturgeon County, the county has many traffic problems that need attention , not people parking in a ditch and walking on a road that they need to take a stand on and fix.

Posted by Laurie

If I may, I readily admit to the great concern of your latest atrocious attempt to appear concerned for the average citizen of Sturgeon County. Many of the reasons you seem to recognize and justify your decision is based on hearsay. The disjointed, attempt to advertise the cause for concern as your appeal to authorities is logical fallacy. One of the many other logical fallacies that the county has embraced and held high on its plateau of flaccid justifications carries the obviousness of ignorance and the desperate yearn for relevance. Claims require evidence. For the sake of your community, choose your future regrets wisely Sturgeon. History will judge you in the proper light.

Posted by Adam Herbert

They were given this information last October why have they not worked on it? They’ve known for awhile how busy they are and should have come up with solution before this had to happened. The parking when they are really busy is horrible people park in ditches and other peoples drive ways. When they come out of the ditch they don’t look just shoot out onto the road where parents and kids are walking. I agree with the new speed limit there. No one is directing traffic. They need more parking maybe they should clear an area on there property. Yes they have brought in business to the community but all businesses have rules to abide by.

Posted by Lynn

This is a horrible intrusion on the part of Sturgeon County. I could not be more disappointed or unimpressed with the decision to clamp down on such a beloved and popular community gathering place; especially a place working so hard to connect people with Indigenous perspectives in the true spirit of reconciliation and friendship. The claim that the road is unsafe is feeble and beurocratic. There is food rotting in the fields and the beautiful, amazing cornmaze is going unused and unseen. That is tragic. How dare you decide to bind them so tightly that they would rather shut down than comply with your petty, obtrusive terms. LET THE GARDENS OPEN. People come from all over Canada to enjoy the beauty, the food, the kinship, the community.....Sturgeon County should find every way to support, honor, and assist Prairie Gardens, especially after the 2.5 years our economy was ground to a halt by politics and faulty rules for the sake of rules. This special place is a boon to all of Sturgeon County and you politicians should be absolutely embarrassed for attempting to destroy everything they have worked all year long for. It's shameful and unfair. I hope you are flooded by letters and complaints letting you know you have overstepped your bounds and pushed a huge community to anger and frustration.

Posted by Tsaida Springfield

The decision made by Sturgeon County is a total disgrace. With advertisements promoting Prairie Gardens as having “over 50 old fashioned fun farm adventures “ and having the county restrict these activities is shameful. We all need such affordable adventures, especially now. As a volunteer with my children’s playschool, one thing has always stayed in my mind. During a field trip to Prairie Gardens, one child said to me while looking out the yellow school bus window, “ this is the farthest I’ve been out of Edmonton!” I will never forget that and will always remember the great time the children had at Prairie Gardens.

Posted by Cheryl

the shutting it down is a disgrace and shameful on your part there is better solutions the letting food wrought in the fields and having people laid off at this time prairie gardens are not responsable for people that are not on thier property if i was told not to walk somewhere but i did it would be on me not the peoples property i walked off of if you told me not to cross the street and i did anyway is it your fault i crossed the road you are bieng really no sense in this one MAYOR AND COUNCIL the lose of revenue the human rights of people you are acting like judge jury and exucutioner sad times on your behalf as far as you say you honoring truth and reconcilation one resrve does not speak for all the other 14 reserves in treat 6 so that is a failure and a sad thing for you to post the corn maze is every child matters that reprsents truth and reconciliation and you shut it down sad time for people not to be able to get thier children out to a place to make a difference

Posted by Chief Standing Bear of the Coast Salish Nation of the Sliammon Band

This is absolutely saddening to hear, please don't keep them shut down! They are an amazing part of the comunity and surrounding areas aswell. People travel from all over to come to Prarie gardens! I hope to see them up and running shortly, farmers have had to deal with enough!

Posted by Melissa

I'm from the UK. And know of this through a friend. What a sad and unfair thing to do, I don't understand why you would shut down such a fantastic place, a place that I've never seen the likes of before, so much hard work gone into creating a fabulous fun loving family days out, it must be truly heartbreaking for all those who've worked hard to create such an amazing place, plus moneys that has been spent, to take all the joy from the children, at this moment in time when the world is such a mess, you would prevent families from making good memories with their loved ones, prevent people from earning a wage, why? Why? Why?

Posted by Georgina Roberts

Dear Laurel and Tam, So very sorry to hear of your plight with Sturgeon County. I am shocked and dismayed to hear of your challenges at the farm. Tam , I had met you many years ago when I was developing Stone Creek at Namao and I can relate to your frustration even from way back then. On August 14th, 2022, I had the opportunity to visit the Prairie Gardens and was amazed and delighted by what you have done with the farm over the years. It was one of the best days that I've had all summer. I was especially delighted to see all the children and families there enjoying the day and learning about the farm and its content. Please. please, don't ever give up on what you offer the Community, the Province and this Country. What you have here, by far, exceeds any oil or petrochemical development and the tax dollars that seem to be so important to many municipalities when they change the farmland. If only more people were like you folks, we would have a much better world to live in and enjoy. I had hoped to come back to Prairie Gardens when the Sunflowers were in Bloom and take some pictures and maybe talk to you. Please let me know how you are doing and if there may be anything that I can do to help. All the best in your future. Kind Regards, Lester

Posted by Lester Onushko

The community loves and needs this business. It would be a absolute shame to shut them down for good. Many Edmonton area citizens would be missing out on making great quality memories with their families if it were to be shut down.

Posted by Nicole

I’m blown away that the county would let this amazing part of the community go l/ push for its closure! how sad and embarrassing! We should be doing all we can to fight for places like this to exists. The capacity allowed is ridiculous. How would they ever survive?. I have been to prairie garden farms during peak season yes it’s busy! I was happy for them and grateful to be able to take my kids their to enjoy all the hard work they put into this place. It’s beyond amazing what they do. I pray this gets reconsider!

Posted by Meaghan Giordano

I have gone to fall seasonal events at Prairie Gardens and felt that the traffic and people attending were doing so safely. I feel it is something families can attend that doesn't cost a fortune and limiting to 100 guests is unreasonable. I hope the county and prairie gardens can continue to negotiate something that works for prairie gardens, and keep people happy and safe as well. It's sort of an 'institution' for a fall visit for many people

Posted by Rob Gill

I am dismayed that Prairie Gardens was forced into having to close. 100 visitors per day seems like a ridiculously small limit for such a large venue, and not allowing events such as weddings is punitive not only to Prairie Gardens but to anyone who has already booked an event. There are so few tourism attractions in this area; I would have thought that it would benefit the county to promote such wonderful businesses. Prairie Gardens closing to the public is a huge loss. I hope that something can be worked out in order to allow Prairie Gardens to continue to operate.

Posted by Brenda McBride

I was very saddened to hear about the shutting down of the wonderful place - Prairie Gardens. I am sure the County could find other more pressing issues. Why after so many years is the County picking on them. Did someone new move into the area and don't like the sounds of people enjoying themselves. County staff should take a look at the work being done on or should we say not being done on the road to Country Quality Meats. Maybe someone new will move there and complain so after 3-4 months that road will be fix. Sounds like me that the County of Sturgeon doesn't want businesses to succeed in their County. It is really too bad that these business can't just up and move. Sounds like it's election time. Once again so disappointed is the counties decision and really hope that the decision will be overturned. GOOD LUCK PRAIRIE GARDENS rooting for you.

Posted by Sandi Maschmeyer

The decision to limit this agricultural business to 100 people per day at the beginning of peak harvest time seems both cruel and short-sighted. Surely there were other less aggressive options to try! So sad that the “Every Child Matters” themed corn maze with elder teachings will not be used. So much good work to inspire the community going to waste! Shame on Sturgeon County!!

Posted by Dawn D

Nicely a follower instead of a leader… what makes anyone think that “other municipalities “ are doing the right things? Now other places can cite YOUR decision as a reason to control their residents even more. Who paid for the “task force”? Hold a town meeting, ask real people for input, and come up with a solution that doesn’t entail so called experts like your task force and forget what other places in Canada are doing. It sounds like every town should have something like this place, and it should be preserved in all its glory and with all its activities, for as many people as it can handle, including weddings and any other event. Work around whatever the problems are to conserve something wonderful.

Posted by Linda

This seems punitive and short sighted, given that it is so close to pumpkin harvest and apple harvest. Farming is hard enough without putting up such road blocks to making a living .

Posted by Mildred Thill

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