Council has come to an agreement regarding an encroachment within the County. At a regular meeting on Sept. 25th, Lacombe County council agreed to enter into a 30-year non-transferable encroachment agreement with County resident Jerry Bauer, allowing him to remain on County property.
At a meeting on Aug. 28th, Bauer appeared in front of council with an offer to buy an unused road allowance after the County discovered that Bauer was constructing a shop which encroached on the adjacent allowance and had also placed a mobile home on the County property.
County Commissioner Terry Hager brought forth a recommendation at that meeting that council deny Bauer’s request and take steps to ensure the encroaching buildings are removed from the unused road allowance as per council’s policy.
When the issue was brought up again at council’s most recent meeting, council heard from both administration and Bauer how sightlines could be improved on the nearby existing road (a safety concern that had been brought up in relation to the structures Bauer had built) and Bauer even offered to do the work at his own cost should he be allowed to occupy the unused road allowance.
However, Hager said whether or not such work could be done was irrelevant.
Council also continued to discuss if Bauer should be allowed to occupy the land even though he knew the building was on the road allowance.
It was something that did not sit well with Councillor Rod McDermand, who voiced his support for defending the policy at the previous meeting and again at the most recent one.
Councilor Ken Wigmore seemed to agree. He said Bauer placed structures on the road allowance knowingly multiple times and while unfortunate for Bauer, council’s policy should be upheld. “I guess from my perspective there is unfortunately a few wrongs here,” said Wigmore. “Mr. Bauer knew where he was building.”
All of council seemed willing to, at the very least, hear other options than forcing Bauer to move. Bauer did apologize for his actions and said he was willing to make amends wherever possible.
Dana Kreil, who stated before she was in favour of finding a “workable solution” in light of these events, made a motion to accept Bauer’s offer to purchase the unused road allowance and have Bauer acquire the right of way for the reconstruction of the existing road. That motion was defeated by a vote of 3 – 2.
After more discussion, Kreil made a second motion to enter into an encroachment agreement with Bauer that passed 3 – 2. Councillors Barb Shepherd and Paula Law were absent from the meeting.