ATHABASCA — Athabasca County councillors voted 8-1 during their March 14 meeting to pass second and third reading on a bylaw to rezone the quarter-section where the Athabasca Acres RV Resort is located from agricultural to commercial campground district.
During a public hearing, acting chief administrative officer Christa Wilkinson – who is also director of planning and development — told council that the Athabasca Acres RV Resort is a 50-stall campground located about 16 and a half kilometres east of the Town of Athabasca.
This campground has been in operation since 2013, though the current owners took possession in 2021 and converted it from a year-round campground to a seasonal campground.
The purpose of amending the county’s land-use bylaw to rezone the land is to allow for potential expansion or development.
Wilkinson read a letter from the campground owners indicating that they recognize this bylaw amendment only re-zones the land, and they will have to go through the development permit process before any expansion can occur.
The letter further noted that they are very respectful of their neighbours and their land, and anyone using the campground who trespasses on someone else’s property or otherwise abuses the land gets evicted.
“To our knowledge, there have been no issues raised from surrounding neighbours, farmers or authorities regarding this property and its use,” the letter stated.
Wilkinson noted that first reading had been given on Bylaw 002-2023 on Feb. 8 and no objections had been raised by adjacent property-owners to the rezoning. There was also no one present at the public hearing to raise an objection.
Noting that the county should act as stewards of agricultural land, Division 5 Coun. Tracy Holland asked how many acres are currently in use on this property and how many would be required for expansion.
Wilkinson responded that the property was mostly wetland and at best only a portion of it could be cleared to be used for haying.
“I would guess that there’s maybe 20-30 acres that’s actually cleared, and the rest is bush,” she said.
Wilkinson noted that Alberta Forestry and Parks’ lands delivery division had indicated they had no issue with the re-zoning, though a wetlands assessment should be conducted before any development occurs.