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MD gives first reading to by-law to rezone land for gravel pit

MD of Willow Creek council gave first reading Feb. 20 to a by-law to rezone land northeast of Fort Macleod to pave the way for a gravel mining operation.
Council reviewed an application by Dale Sandberg to rezone NW and SW-3-10-25-4 from rural general to rural industrial use.
Before any discussion began on the matter Reeve Henry Van Hierden and Coun. Ian Sundquist declared a conflict of interest because they own gravel pits.
Coun. Phil Wakelin declared a conflict because he has a pecuniary interest. All three left the meeting.
Deputy Reeve Neil Wilson then assumed the chair for the duration of the discussion.
The question was posed as to whether the three should leave because council is considering a rezoning at present.
MD of Willow Creek chief administrative officer Cynthia Vizzutti explained that legal counsel has advised that since the use of the land is known in advance, the councillors should declare a conflict of interest.
MD of Willow Creek planner Mike Burla then expressed a concern if the entire half section of land is rezoned, then it can all be mined.
MD of Willow Creek manager of planning and development Gail Gibeau responded the size of the operation will be determined at the development permit stage of the project.
Amendments can also be made after the public hearing.
“I think the public process will help drive that,” Vizzutti said. “Both the Sandbergs and the public will have ample time to speak to this.”
Burla then withdrew his concern over the matter.
Once council passed first reading, it set Wednesday, April 17 at 1:30 p.m. for the public hearing.

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