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Willow Creek MD to re-open John Zoeteman Park near Fort Macleod

The MD of Willow Creek has notified the provincial government it will be re-opening a Fort Macleod-area park, after being closed for a year over a dispute regarding a requirement for a land survey.
Council approved a draft letter Jan. 28 to Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development containing the signatures of all seven members of council.
The letter states the MD of Willow Creek has operated John Zoeteman Park for 50 years along Willow Creek.
The park has been a popular camping spot for locals and travelers alike.
In 2014, the recreational lease came up for renewal, and Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development required the municipality to actually survey the park before it could renew the lease.
The cost to survey a small campground along a creek, the letter states, with a boundary that changes on a yearly basis, is estimated at a cost of $7,000 to $10,000.
This campground is operated at a significant loss to taxpayers of the municipality, with a shortfall of about $30,000 per year paid by the municipality.
“Council felt that there was no need for a survey when we can provide your department with two-year-old aerial ortho-photography, showing the boundaries with sub-metre accuracy,” the letter continued. “Your department said pay for the survey or let the lease go. We did not sign the lease. Council ordered the park closed and locked.”
“The 2014 camping season was lost to Alberta residents, because Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development feels that the municipality should incur the cost of a survey of provincial lands. We wrote, protested and stood our ground and today this lovely park remains locked.”
“At their Jan. 14, 2015 meeting, council instructed administration to open the park for the 2015 season, regardless of the position taken by those in your department.”
“At council’s direction, we are informing you that John Zoeteman Park will open for the 2015 camping season, and the municipality will operate it as we have in the past.”
“We are still hoping that your department will remove the need for a survey, and allow us to renew the lease for 25 years.”
“Regardless, the park will open in the spring of this year, with or without a signed lease with the province.”

1 Comments For This Post

  1. Garrett de Koning Says:

    About time somebody stood up to the Provincial thieves as airial survey is done every where now days plus their costs are way out of line. Good reporting