M.D. of Lesser Slave River council chambers was a crowded place on Nov. 28. Residents of Perry Lane in Widewater (and some others) had turned out to have their say in a proposed zoning change for an 18-acre piece of land across the street. The owners want to turn it into a campground, and the neighbours, by and large, do not want that at all.
Council heard them loud and clear, and later in the meeting voted down a motion to approve the bylaw amendment on second reading. As a result, a lot of people left the meeting happy; the owners and applicants, presumably, did not.
The pie-shaped lot lies between Perry Lane and Hwy. 2, east of Widewater Drive.
Presenter after presenter at the hearing told council they feared a campground would ruin the peace and quiet they enjoy.
“People will come with their dogs and their quads and their music and their parties,” said one.
Another added fire risk, increase in crime and many other possible outcomes.
Another presenter used the opportunity to get several years of complaints off her chest – most of them having nothing to do with the matter on the agenda. One of them was the establishment of a communications tower (on the same lot), which she said she was never consulted about.
The M.D. had also received several letters on the re-zoning proposal, most of them expressing similar opposition. One was neutral, council heard, and one was in favour.
One resident had a petition against the re-zoning, with 88 signatures. It turned out it wasn’t valid, under the rules for such things, but he handed it over anyway and asked council to take it into consideration.
Nobody said much in favour of the re-zoning, except for one of the owners acknowledging the application.
Strictly speaking, the hearing was not about the campground use; rather it was whether to change the zoning from Urban Reserve to Community Facility District. Commenting on that, Councillor Lana Spencer observed that the zoning change would open it up “to a whole variety of other uses, so we really have to watch what we’re approving.”
Councillor Norm Seatter agreed: “It could open a can of worms,” he said.