Alberta’s Land and Property Rights Tribunal has overturned a decision made by the Wheatland County Municipal Planning Commission (MPC) on May 9 of this year to deny a development permit application for an abattoir, or slaughterhouse, located north of Highway 564 and approximately 14 kilometres north of the Town of Strathmore.
Wheatland County MPC had previously denied the application for the abattoir due to a number of concerns, which included increased traffic to the facility, increased odour, and an outpouring of opposition from area residents.
“Administration did get a cost estimate for this (if council wishes to proceed with anything further), and it would range between $25,000 to $35,000 just to prepare the documentation to have it heard for the potential if council were to challenge the decision of the LRPT,” explained Wheatland County Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Brian Henderson during the meeting.
He noted, if council did choose to appeal the decision and it was successful, the county would be on the line for an additional $50,000 to $60,000.
The applicant for the abattoir had appealed the MPC’s decision, taking it to the LRPT.
According to the Government of Alberta’s website, the LRPT acts as a “quasi-judicial tribunal that makes decisions about land use, planning, development,” among other duties; it is similar to other quasi-judicial boards such as the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) and the Surface Rights Board (SRB).
A hearing was held at the end of June where the tribunal made the decision to approve the application and issue the development permit for the abattoir.
Deputy Reeve Scott Klassen noted, since this decision, he has received “an abundance of phone calls” from residents within the division who had questioned what Wheatland County council could do given the LRPT decision. He expressed his disappointment with the process, and the MPC’s decision to deny the application was not “made lightly.”
Division 4 Councillor Tom Ikert added, unlike LRPT, area council members “have skin in the game,” and are the ones ratepayers will reach out to, or vote out, when or if any issues arise.
Council accepted the LRPT decision as information and elected to not pursue any further appeal.
By Lacie Nairn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, DrumhellerMail.com
Original Published on Aug 23, 2023