BLC taking steps for land lease in park

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Big Lakes County is taken steps to deal with a request from the owners of a cabin in Winagami Lake Provincial Park to transfer the licence for the lot owned by the County.
At its regular meeting Jan. 12, council gave first reading to Bylaw 01-2022 to provide for a licence for environmental reserve lands, Plan 3707KS: Lot P1 in the park.
A public hearing is set for Feb. 9 at 1 p.m. in council chambers.
The bylaw is required under the Municipal Government Act [MGA], Pat Olansky, director of planning and development, told council.
“In order to grant a licence of occupation for the County’s environmental reserve land, a bylaw is necessary to authorize the land to be used for a purpose other than those stated in the MGA,” Olansky said.
Environmental reserve land owned by the County is required “to be left in its natural site or be used as a public park”, according to Section 671 of the MGA, she added.
The County received a request from Mathieu Hryniak LLP on behalf of clients Denis and Fern Thibault for a licence to utilize a portion of the environmental reserve lot for an existing stairway that was built down the bank of Lot P1 to access the lake and their dock, Olansky told council.
She added the lot is titled to Big Lakes and is within the provincial park adjacent to the privately-leased cabin area.
The Thibaults are in the process of transferring the lease for the cabin at Plan 3707KS, Block 3, Lot 6.
As part of transferring the lease, Alberta Environment and Parks regional director Calvin McLeod has advised that the County’s approval is required for the stairway within Lot P1 to be utilized by the new lessee, Olansky said.
AEP is not willing to consent to the transfer in the event that the County requires further action from AEP, such as remove or repair the stairs.
CAO Jordan Panasiuk says the steps were built by a previous lessee without permission.
“Environment says the County will have to deal with the stairs before it [AEP] considers a licence,” Panasiuk said.
He asked council about the stairway.
“Do we want the stairs?” Panasiuk asked.
South Sunset House – Gilwood Councillor Ann Stewart suggests council discuss that issue after the public hearing.
“Let’s see what the public says.”
Olansky said the County became aware of the stairway in November 2021.
Heart River – Salt Prairie Councillor Garrett Zahacy says the stairway has existed for “years and years”.

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