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Council rolls through agenda, supports Clearwater Horse Club

Last Updated Mar 1, 2019 at 11:54 am MDT

Similar to the Welsh Pony seen here, the horses of Clearwater Horse Club have friends in Council as they approved of a motion for the Municipality to urge the province to support the Clearwater Horse Club as they resolve water and land issues, and giving the non-profit group "more time" to comply to new regulations. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

You can say there are friends of Clearwater Horse Club (CWHC) in Council and Wood Buffalo.

Councillor Jane Stroud presented the motion to write the provincial government to work with the CWHC to address water and land issues “deficiencies”.

Then, in August of 2018, the province served notice to Clearwater Horse Club, in business for more than 50 years, they were non-compliant with their lease.

Councillor Phil Meagher said to abruptly uproot the organization seemed they were “bullied” into the situation.

“It’s beyond me, just because they’re a higher level of government can step in, and just basically run havoc by us, [and] lead people who have been there for 50 years. It’s frustrating.”

There is work being done by the CWHC, the Municipality, and Alberta Environment and Parks to examine the issues.

Chair of the Clearwater Horse Club’s Lease Compliance committee, Connie Stevens, spoke at Council. She recently left a town hall meeting at the club to attend the session.

Stevens says they must take a “proactive” approach to the compliance, and “look to the future.”

“It’s unfortunate we were in this situation. We always thought we were working in the best interest, [and] a benefit and valued asset to the community. It was a huge surprise to us that we were not.”

Stevens adds the Municipality provides consultation, education for grants, and other resources.

Council unanimously passed Stroud’s motion for the Mayor’s office to write to the province to assist CWHC as they work towards compliance.

“When we say ‘we need time’.” Stevens explains, “The time gives us the time to develop the plans, get the resources, develop the expertise, educate the members, and to become compliant.”

Mayor Don Scott agrees, saying they want to see Clearwater Horse Club “for another fifty years.”

Cold snap

The cold snap earlier this month caused some alarm at the Clearwater Horse Club

With the well water on the property frozen, CWHC volunteers ferried buckets and “bathtubs” of water to horses.

The horses are safe and fed, however, the weather made the severity of the issue all the more apparent.

“People like horses. Clearwater does a great job doing the parades all the time.” Councillor Meagher said. “Kids loves horses. [If] we keep shutting these places down, we’re going to have no reason to come here.”

Quick points

  • Mayor Don Scott tabled a motion to support the Salvation Army.
  • Council approved Census 2018 as information.
  • The population of Wood Buffalo is 111,687 with a total permanent population of 75,009, and shadow population of 36,678.
  • They also asked administration examine the cost to dismantle the “weather catcher”, disclose any ongoing maintenance costs, and find alternative options for the space.
  • Councillors joined the staff of Some Other Solutions in recognizing Pink Shirt Day, scheduled for February 27, 2019, in Wood Buffalo.