Council will present their decision on the re-zoning of Dunvegan Gardens at a special council meeting on Tuesday, May 15 at 6 o’clock p.m.
On May 8, Over 30 presentations were made by residents from across the municipality both opposing and supporting the re-zoning local business, after a stop-work order had been issued for the company disregarding several bylaws.
Ahead of the meeting MyMcMurray asked both sides to answer the same three questions.
We have not edited their answers at all as we have published as received.
Answers provided by the Executive of the Draper Residents Society of the Clearwater River Valley:
1.) What is the matter being presented to city council as you see it?
There are many issues intertwined in this matter, but the most important thing at issue is the rule of law itself and hopefully the end to political interference in our Municipality. No one should be allowed to break the law over an extended period of time without reprisal. No one should be allowed to bend the rules to suit their own personal needs at the expense of others, especially when the rationale is based on a profit margin alone. This is also an opportunity for Council to show leadership qualities by making the right and legal decision, even if some people are not in favour of the result.
2.) Why should or shouldn’t Dunvegan Gardens be allowed to continue their operations?
Dunvegan Gardens’ retail and commercial operations beyond the growing of fruits and vegetables are illegal and should not be allowed to continue in the present location, otherwise what is the point of having laws? What is the point of having zoning, a Municipal Planning and Development department or an Enforcement department? Our planning laws are designed to separate contrasting zones. To favour Dunvegan Gardens would be a step backwards to a time when there were few rules, regulations or the certainty of the rule of law. It also sends a poor message to the rest of the legal businesses and residents of all our communities that this type of behaviour will be tolerated.
3.) What do you think a fair and equitable solution for all sides looks like?
This is not a situation whereby a compromise can be reached to the satisfaction of all. The illegal uses are polar opposite to the designated uses of the district and both belong in completely different land use zones, apart from each other. One is heavy industrial and commercial and the other is quiet country rural residential living. Once the illegal uses are removed, then Dunvegan Gardens can continue to operate its less intrusive legal agricultural operations, without being the nuisance that it has been these past 9 years to the legal residents. The illegal uses should be moved to a more appropriate commercial zone that has proper and safer infrastructure. There are many such commercial locations presently available in our region.
Answers provided by Brad Friesen, Dunvegan Gardens Vice President of Operations:
What is the matter being presented to council as you see it?
The matter is a rezoning application for the continuance of the Garden Center as it now operates with a few additional things. The problem with the RMWB is that in 2008, 2009 they granted us the permits for a structure based on an application that had a letter that had an explanation attached to it which is a requirement in any application. The SDAB had told us to re-zone it as the city had errored in their decision and permits granted to us in 2008 and 2009 and this would be the best way to right the wrong.
Why should or shouldn’t Dunvegan Gardens be allowed to continue their operations?
They should be allowed as they applied for their permits in 2008 and 2009 before building all their building with the use in the letter of explanation. Also, historically if you look what Market Gardens have become Dunvegan Gardens falls right into the scope of what the industry is doing with even the Alberta Agriculture and Forestry departments working with the Market Gardens and the Agriculture industry as a whole wanting them to diversify their products and offerings to the public, educating them.
What do you think a fair and equitable solution for all sides looks like?
My preference would be that Dunvegan Gardens carries on and that council sends this back to the planners to resolve some of the issues with regards to the application. And that the RMWB works to better the road making sure that the dust is under control. Let’s remember that many people are behind Dunvegan Gardens and that you need different facets in order to make something equitable which is what they have done and the money that has been spent and incorporated back into the community because of all that they have built should not be forgotten.