Developer Seeks Approval To Drain Winchell Coulee
Notice in Local Newspaper Starts Public Consultation
Winchell Coulee Development
The Notice reproduced below appeared in the MountainView County News on August 14, 1998. Through this Notice Alberta Environmental Protection (AEP) is asking for your concerns about recent developments at Winchell Lake/Winchell Coulee.
Earlier this month AEP issued a stop work order on developer Robin Stewart. This means that Mr. Stewart cannot continue his road building and drainage activities in Winchell Coulee without approvals as required under the Water Resources Act. This decision confirms what the residents of WaterValley have argued for several years - the natural resources of Winchell Lake and Winchell Coulee are regionally significant and need a high level of protection from conflicting land uses
Under the Water Resources Act AEP must consult with anyone who has an interest in the Coulee before making a decision about the continuation of work in the area. AEP wants you to put your concerns in writing and mail or fax them in before by September 14, 1998. Regardless of where you live in relation to the Coulee if you have an interest in Winchell Coulee for its water resources or its wildlife/fish habitat:
Any person having an interest in the matter may
submit a written statement of concern with the:
To Respond to The Notice of Application
Questions & Answers
Yes. You can submit your statement as a formal letter, a report or even a handwritten note on a napkin. The important thing to remember is that your concerns must be submitted in writing and addressed to the Manager, Regional Support Parkland Region at the address provided in the Notice. Don’t forget to quote the file number 80533.
The Notice indicates that my written statement must be submitted on or before September 14, 1998. Is this deadline firm?
Yes. Get started writing now so that you can mail your statement on or before Sept. 8 to be sure that it arrives on time. If you absolutely cannot submit a statement by this date, try calling Mr. Kenn Looten tollfree at: 310000 340-7660 and requesting a short extension. Remember, you can FAX your statement to: 310000 340-7660 anytime before midnight September 14.
What can I say in my written submission?
On the attached page you will find some key points that you should incorporate into your statement. This information has been provided to help you write your statement. It is best to write in your own words.
I have many "before and after" pictures of Winchell Coulee. Is it okay to include these pictures with my statement of concern?
Yes. It is an excellent idea to include pictures that support your statement of concern. You can also attach any reports you may have on water quality, stream flow, wildlife and fish habitat that support your concerns. Remember to send copies and keep the originals. Your material will not be returned.
It seems as though Mr. Stewart is asking for approval for work that is already complete. What difference will a statement of my concerns make at this stage?
Your participation in this process is vital. Mr Stewart proceeded with his work against rules laid out in the Water Resources Act. If he does not obtain proper approvals Mr. Stewart may be required to remove the road and drainage channel. He may also be fined under the Act. In your statement you must ask the question of what next? Mr. Stewart is requesting approval to drain the Coulee for a reason. You are entitled to know that reason - Ask for it! Ask for a full disclosure of Mr. Stewart’s future plans for the Coulee at a public forum/hearing. You also need to request that a full assessment of the environmental impact of these plans on the Coulee must be undertaken before any surface water diversion and road building approvals are given.
I don’t trust bureaucrats! I want my elected representatives to know my concerns about development activities in Winchell Coulee. Can I send a statement of my concerns to them?
An Excellent idea! You should make sure that your elected representatives are involved in any decision to permit development in Winchell Coulee. Send your concerns in writing to Premier Klien, Your MLA (Richard Marz for the WaterValley area) and Pat James, Reeve of the County of MountainView. On the attached page you will also find contact names and numbers for the Federal Government.
What is the County of MountainView’s role in all of this?
The County did not protect the Coulee when they had the opportunity to do so last year. That opportunity has been lost. However, write to the Reeve of the County and urge him to ensure that the County makes a submission in this public consultation process. The County has a stake in any future plans to drain the Coulee because they own the Coulee lands adjacent to Mr. Stewart. including Winchell Lake. The County also has an obligation to its constituents to ensure that the flow and quality of water that originates in Winchell Coulee is maintained.