Resource extraction policies
Council approved the following policies related to resource extraction:
- Groundwater Monitoring Program Policy: this policy sets criteria for the groundwater monitoring program, which applies to all sand and gravel extraction operations in the County. The County-led program makes sure resource extraction operations increase reporting to limit adverse impacts to water quality and quantity by having an independent hydrogeologist conduct regular groundwater sampling, reports, testing and monitoring. Operators fund these actions, and groundwater monitoring reports are available to the public.
- Resource Extraction Agricultural Assessment Policy: this policy sets criteria for evaluating impacts of resource extraction operations on adjacent agricultural operations. Proposed operations within 400 metres of a confined feeding operation must have an agricultural impact assessment. This evaluates the impacts of resource extraction on confined feeding operations. Council will consider this information when balancing a proposed sand and gravel operation through the lens of agricultural producers.
- Resource Extraction Direct Control Evaluation Policy: this policy sets evaluation criteria used to assess the impacts of proposed resource extraction operations. All applications to redistrict land to the RE-DC – Resource Extraction Direct Control district are assessed based on economic, environmental, social and other factors. Council will consider this information when deciding about a proposed operation.
These policies are the result the Resource Extraction Regulatory Review (RERR).
Improvements to Land Use Bylaw
Council gave first reading of Bylaw 1632/23 which proposes updates to the Land Use Bylaw in response to public, Council and developer input. The proposed changes include minor updates for clarity and efficiency, and to help the County provide good customer service. Proposed updates are expected to reduce development appeals by 70 per cent.
Amendments include the following:
- Adding definitions for terminology included in the Land Use Bylaw.
- Changing site grading from a permitted use to a discretionary use on an interim basis while administration reviews site grading policy and regulations. This means adjacent landowners are notified of proposed developments and have an opportunity to provide feedback.
- Requiring event venue operators to live onsite and attend every commercial event.
- Providing clarity about when a proposed development is referred to Canadian Forces Base Edmonton for input.
- Giving the development authority the ability to approve increased variance requests and make minor changes to issued permits supporting plans.
A public hearing will be scheduled to allow landowners to provide their feedback before Council considers the proposed bylaw further. Details of the public hearing will be posted on the public notices page on the Sturgeon County website, in local newspapers and road signs.
Land use matters
Council gave first reading of Bylaw 1637/23, which proposes to redistrict 21012 Victoria Trail from AG – Agriculture district to RE – Resource Extraction district for the purpose of starting a silica sand resource extraction operation. A public hearing will be scheduled and will allow adjacent landowners to provide their feedback before Council considers the proposed bylaw further. Details of the public hearing will be posted on the public notices page on the Sturgeon County website, in local newspapers and road signs.
Fire Services agreements
Council supported requests for Sturgeon County to continue providing fire services to the following summer villages from 2024 to 2026:
Supporting these locations will not impact service levels to the County.
Council also approved an agreement with the City of Fort Saskatchewan for aerial fire apparatus. The City has provided aerial fire apparatus when requested by the County for firefighting purposes since 2019. An aerial fire apparatus is a basic tool for rescue, ventilation and fire extinguishment in industrial, commercial and residential fires.
Board and Committee Appointments
Council considered the appointment of public members to Sturgeon County boards and committees, with terms starting January 1, 2024. The final decision will be made on December 12, 2023.
Youth Advisory Committee presentation
At its Committee of the Whole meeting, Council accepted the presentation from the Youth Advisory Committee chair as information. The Youth Advisory Committee advises Council on issues related to youth in the community. This was the committee’s first presentation to Council.
Fast facts about land use bylaw amendments and public hearings:
- At Sturgeon County, before Council seeks public feedback on a proposed land use bylaw amendment, Council gives first reading of the proposed bylaw. This does not mean Council supports the bylaw, but that Council is agreeing for the proposed bylaw to proceed to the next stage of the bylaw process, being receipt of public feedback.
- Public hearings are open to any members of the public, but in considering feedback, Council must consider how and the degree to which the person making a written submission or speaking at a public hearing is affected by the proposal.
- Anyone wishing to provide comments on a proposed bylaw can submit them in writing in advance, attend the Council Meeting in person, or participate virtually.
- For more details and to register for a public hearing, call Legislative Services at 780-939-8277.
- Public hearings, along with other public notices, are posted on the Public Notices page on our website.
Next Council Meeting
The next Sturgeon County Council meeting will be held at 9:00 a.m. on December 12, 2023.