Proposal for a Cancerous Expansion of the Lamont-County-Portion of
the Industrial Heartland
By Walter H. Schneider
It appears that the County plans to re-zone approximately 38,000
acres just west and northwest from the Town of Lamont to Heavy
Industrial Land (enlarging the Heartland).
Very Large Plants could locate in this area. This would
have an enormous impact on the area and may affect you.
— Allan Antoniuk
(in a flyer he had produced and distributed to County Residents at his
Introduction and Impressions
Question and answer period
What will happen next?
Official documents relating to the Apr 25, 2007,
Introduction and Impressions
The Lamont-County Office held a land-use bylaw meeting at the Lamont
Recreation Centre in the evening of April 25, 2007.
The meeting was supposed to start at 7 pm but could not begin until about
7:30 pm. The reason for the delay was that far more people than
expected showed up for the meeting. By 7 pm the line-up of people
trying to sign in and to pick up the meeting-handouts extended through the
foyer of the Recreation Centre right out to the doors to the parking lot.
Eventually the handouts for the meeting ran out.
The Recreation Centre was filled to capacity. There were insufficient
chairs and for many of those who could not make it into the Recreation
Centre until after 7 pm there was standing room only.
The speakers from the county office all commented on the remarkably large number
of people that attended, stating things such as, "That is democracy in
They appeared to be rather proud of the large turnout, while
in reality the announcement of the meeting that they had published amounted
to nothing more than an ad on the back page of the April 17, 2007 edition of
the Lamont Leader that was most likely missed by the vast majority of the
county-residents, unless they knew that it was coming and were especially
looking for it. (It is highly recommended that any County rate payer and all
residents of Bruderheim and Lamont take a close look at all of
the draft documents that were made available for the first time at the
see also update 2007 11 29)
Aside from that, the short interval between the publishing of the
ad and the public meeting announced in it (six work days, eight
calendar days) can hardly be considered sufficient to satisfy requirements. The County Office staff worked for many months to cook
up their land-grab proposal, and we, for whom they ostensibly work, have
only a few days in which to prepare and state our objections.
Allan Antoniuk, a rate payer in our County, deserves many thanks for having
done what the county-office staff, who are our employees, could not or
perhaps did not want to do, namely bring people out in large numbers to the
April 25 land-use bylaw meeting.
It is regrettable that the Lamont
Leader devoted nothing more in its April 17, 2007 edition to an issue of
such importance that it warranted prominent front-page coverage. Mind
you, going by the innocuous notice shown at the right and above, it could not be expected
of any member of the public and not even of the Lamont Leader to anticipate the extent of the
enormous land grab launched through the County Office's proposal. (See
2008-01-03 update note)
Let's hope that the launch will ultimately be aborted. It will take an
enormous amount of effort by many people at the expense of thousands of
dollars and countless hours of work to make that happen. It is a lot
easier to let the cat out of the bag than to put her back in. [Update
2008 01 03: The land grab went through anyway, even though the result
after the fact was that the councillor perceived to have been largely
responsible for it, Ray Lopushinsky (District 5), was replaced with Dennis
McCartney through a substantial majority of the voters in the 2007 municipal
The presentation by the County-Office staff consisted of a series of view
graphs shown on a very small screen, with font sizes that were so small that
they made it necessary for most of the people in attendance to strain their
eyes to make out the headers on the view graphs. The text of the
contents of the various viewgraphs presented was clearly illegible for the
vast majority of those in attendance. Fortunately, the presenters read
the contents of each viewgraph to the audience, but even they obviously
struggled with the legibility of many of the view graphs, as all, especially
Bill Dolman, repeatedly had to re-read to correct what they read to the
documents from which the view graphs had been prepared are available in
PDF format at the website of the County Office. The PowerPoint presentation
on Urban and Rural Growth in Alberta, by the Alberta Government, presented
by Allan Harvey is apparently not available at the website of the County
Office and no link to it has been identified, but
a request was
sent April 30 to Debbie Hamilton to make a copy of that PowerPoint
The PA system suffered from acoustic feedback. The solution that was
chosen to correct that
was to turn the volume down to a level where the acoustic feedback became
almost tolerable but was still annoying and still interfered with the
fidelity of the sound reproduction. An option that
usually works quite well to eliminate acoustic feedback, to relocate the
microphone to a different spot on the podium, was not tried. Except
for the question and answer period at the end of the presentations, all of
that made for a very unprofessional quality of the presentations. That
is deplorable in relation to an issue of very great importance to the County
rate payers and to all of present and future residents of the County and of Bruderheim and Lamont.
Allan Harvey, the county manager and chairman of the meeting, after
stressing that the evening was not intended to field questions from the
audience, identified that a question and answer period was slated for the
end of the meeting.
Unfortunately, a good portion of the audience had left at the time Bill
Dolman launched the second, more detailed portion of his presentation that
had up to that point been, quite plainly, exceedingly boring.
After Bill Dolman was done with that, Allan Harvey presented information
that was intended to explain why the process of the land-use-bylaw revision
was launched and undertaken. He failed to explain why only a single
option was investigated and whether other options for raising tax revenues
were investigated and why they had been ruled out. The reality of that
is that when the County Office had asked in November 2006 for input by
county-residents as to what options for increasing tax revenues should be
explored, quite a few of the suggestions that had been made then involved
options other than expanding the area zoned "heavy industrial".
The people who in November proposed that the heavy-industrial zone
should be re-zoned to light industrial (for service industries or for
manufacturing) must surely be astounded to learn that instead of their
solutions the County chose to propose an enormously large expansion of the
heavy industrial zone that is opposed by the vast majority of the rate
One would have expected that the first part of the presentation on
April 25, 2007 would have covered all of the suggestions received in
November, what the pros and cons where of each, and why all of them but one
had been rejected. It would perhaps have been quite revealing to have
learned who it was that suggested an expansion of the "heavy industrial"
zone by a factor of ten and to learn as well why that option was considered
to be so much more important than any of the others that hold much more
The "planners" who have done deplorably little planning in cooking up
their hare-brained proposal came across as being drunk with power.
Bill Dolman, for example, appears to be obsessed with
his role and power in addressing development. After he had droned on
for about 29 minutes in his largely unintelligible second presentation, he attempted to educate what he obviously
regard as an ignorant audience about what "development" is. He
asserted that "everything needs a development permit," because the Municipal
Government Act specifies that "everything adds development" and therefore
needs a development permit. It is hard to figure out why he then chose the
particular method he picked for driving that point home, but here is what he
said immediately thereafter, while holding up a pen, "See this pen?" and,
putting the pen down on the lectern, "I just did development: I
placed the pen on
land! That is called development." If that is all there is
to development in the County Office, then we should not be surprised that
real planning and evaluation of alternatives play so little or no part in
You may have had some personal and quite likely correct opinions on
what good planning is, but now you know what development is according to
Bill Dolman of the County Office.
Anyone would have thought that most often a pen is just a pen, and
that putting it down on paper would not be planning but simply be for the
reason of writing something down or for drawing a line, or perhaps just to
give it a rest.
After that, Bill Dolman spent about a minute disentangling himself
from the difference between square feet and square meters with which he had
That detailed part of Bill Dolman's presentation lasted about 45 minutes.
Without a doubt, what by then remained of the audience was quite relieved
when that presentation came to an end.
Allan Harvey then presented for about 15 minutes some details of tax
revenues and expenses. He mentioned a few cherry-picked items of
income and expenses. It was not at all a financial report consisting
of a balance sheet, a statement of income and expense or any sort of
cash-flow projections showing that the County is close to bankruptcy.
Nevertheless, and on account of that, he failed to convince the audience
that anything had changed substantially over the years of the existence of
the County of Lamont. Few people would accept that maintaining 2,000
miles of gravel roads (or did he mention kilometers? It was kilometres,
but 2000km from here would take you only to the middle of Lake Superior.
To get to Toronto would take another 700km) in the county is any
more difficult now than it was when those roads were constructed almost a
Allan Harvey concluded that portion of his presentations by
stressing that at this point the changes in the Land-Use Bylaw are still in
the draft stage. Then he opened the meeting to general questions.
It seems to be somewhat incongruous that the only viable solution to
expenses that exceed income is to replace a good portion of our County's
residences and farms with heavy industrial plants.
It seems that the County-Office staff wishes to solve the problems it
creates through various deficiencies of its financial practices and skills by
eliminating what it appears to see as the root of all of its problems,
namely the people of the County.
After all, the experience in the portion of the Industrial
Heartland located in Strathcona County is that properties were and are being
bought out and people moved and are moving away, thereby quite literally
depopulating the portion of Strathcona County now occupied by the Industrial
Certainly, Fort Saskatchewan is growing, but that is because it is not
enclosed and surrounded by heavy-industrial zoning. Fort Saskatchewan
has great potential for growth and expansion into all directions of the
compass except one. The heavy-industrial zone adjacent to it extends
northeast into the triangle formed by the North Saskatchewan River, Highway
830 and Highway 15, a triangle whose apex is at the northeastern extreme of
According to the Lamont County re-zoning proposal, Bruderheim will be
almost completely surrounded by heavy industry (without a doubt, most of it would be
petrochemical). To a somewhat lesser extent,
similar restrictions to
expansion would be true of the Town of Lamont.
In the long run, Bruderheim will be able to expand only into the direction
of Highway 15 (through a one-mile corridor to Highway 15.) Expansion beyond
that is barred by the buffer zone surrounding the heavy-industrial zone.
As of now the proposed re-zoning will permit
Lamont to expand east (beyond Highway 831) and south (beyond Highway 15).
Update 2007 11 29: The map accessible to the right of this
page is an excerpt from a county document that was presented by the
County Office along with its re-zoning proposal on April 25, 2007.
Up to the 24th of April the map showed that the area to be rezoned was
to extend all the way north from Highways 38 and 45 right up to the
North Saskatchewan River.
On April 24, just a day prior to the presentation of its proposal
to the Lamont County residents, the map had been redrawn to reduce the
area to be rezoned, after it became known to the County Office that the
Lamont County residents were going to show up in force on the Evening of
the County Office's presentation. The area to be rezoned was
reduced to what is shown now on that excerpt.
Very curiously, there is now a revised version of that County
Office map (dated Sep. 11, 2007). That revised version shows that
the buffer zone between the eastern boundary of Bruderheim and the
proposed heavy industrial zone has been expanded by half a mile to the
east on the following land locations: NW10 56 20 W4; SW10 56 20 W4; NW3
56 20 W4; SW3 56 20 W4; NW27 55 20 W4, and SW3 55 20 W4. The
September 11, 2007 revision of the map also shows a revision of the
zoning adjacent to Lamont. While the April 24 edition of the
County Office map showing the proposed rezoning showed no restriction
for the land at NW20 55 19 W4, the September 11 revision indicates that
that land now has become part of the buffer zone between Lamont and the
area zoned heavy industrial.
The important issue in regard to those September 11, 2007 revisions
is that they were not presented to the Lamont County residents nor to
the residents of the Towns of Bruderheim and Lamont. Mind you, at
the public hearing at which those zoning revisions were presented, 58
county residents and people other than councillors and County Office
staff attended - a far cry from the many hundreds of people who attended
the official announcement of the re-zoning bylaw on Aprol 25, 2007.
If you are a resident of either Bruderheim or Lamont and if you don't
agree in any way with the County's intentions, it would be a good idea
to attend the
December 4 Municipal Government Board's preliminary hearings in Lamont
and in Bruderheim.
Due to the constraints the County wishes to impose on the limits of growth of
Bruderheim, it seems to be somewhat unrealistic to expect Bruderheim to
experience much growth (the latest intentions by the Lamont County are for
Bruderheim to have no growth at all). For all intents and purposes Bruderheim will be
at the centre of what what is quite likely to become the most-heavily
polluting concentration of industry on the North American Continent.
Who would want to locate or raise a family in such surroundings as long as
better alternatives are still
available elsewhere within commuting distance?
As to the comparable situation in Lamont, the Town of Lamont needs to
consider the requirement for changing its advertising slogan from "City Living
— Country Style" to "City-Living Petrochemical-Style".
The proposed re-zoning would expand the heavy-industrial zone in the County
of Lamont from four to 41.5 sections of land. In addition, the
proposal calls for a one-mile-wide buffer zone (another 31 sections of land) surrounding
that area to constitute a barrier to expansion by Bruderheim and Lamont as
well as of the heavy-industrial zone. Development of farms,
and small businesses in that area of land would be arrested. No
building permits for any new permanent structures would be issued, except
for the construction of heavy-industrial plants. Exceptions would be
made for buildings that require reconstruction, such as in the case of
fire, but only to the extent that those reconstructions would be
limited to the original layout of the buildings they would replace.
As far as buffer-zones go, those are not immutable. In Edmonton there
was once a two-mile buffer zone between residential areas to the north and
the light-industrial zone to the south of Argyle Road. That buffer zone had been
zoned as park land. All that remains of that park land now are a few
remnants here and there in the form of the boulevard in the centre of Argyle
road. (As the
Nov. 29 update to this web page shows, the County Office staff feels quite
capable to make zoning changes at the stroke of a pen and that they can do
so without notifying the public.)
To place the original, smaller heavy-industrial zone right smack in the
centre between the two most-heavily populated centres in the County of
Lamont was not a very bright idea that encountered at that time heavy
opposition (the opposition was ignored and outmaneuvered by the bureaucrats
and politicians in favour of the heavy-industrial zone. They thereby
succeeded in imposing their will on the people whom they ostensibly worked
for and represented). To expand that area now to ten times its size in
the most-heavily populated part of the County and thereby not only to place
severe limits on the growth of Bruderheim and Lamont but to use up a
large portion of the most productive farmland in the county is so
outrageous that it boggles the mind.
It appears that the County Office has lost all perspective. The
primary objective of the County Office must be to serve the County's
residents to the residents' satisfaction, not to want to replace the County's residents with heavy
The preceding photo shows the sort of thing that residents of Bruderheim
and Lamont will have to expect to see from the boundaries of their
communities across the proposed one-mile buffer zone if the Lamont County
re-zoning proposal should come to pass.
Questions and Answers
The Q&A section of this set of web pages covers only a few of the question that were asked and of
the answers that were provided. The main reason for that is that not
all of the questions that had been asked could be heard, let alone
understood, by the vast majority of the audience. The recreation
centre is a large room, many hundreds of people attended, no floor
microphones had been provided, and the poor performance of the public
address system made even the repetitions by Allan Harvey of the question
from the floor and his answers to the questions somewhat unintelligible.
It must be hoped that a full transcript of all that was presented
and stated that evening will be made available to the public. (Update
2007 05 03: That hope has been dashed.
Hamilton stated in an e-mail message dated 2007 05 02 that no transcript
of the Q&A period will be made available.)
What will happen next?
Anyone who wishes to object to
the proposed re-zoning land grab should write to the County Office and make
sure that his comment will be received by the County Office no later than
May 9, 2007, at 4 pm. (Update 2007 05 11: The deadline for
that has now been passed.)
A democracy can only be made to work if its people
stay alert and make
sure that their representatives in governments at all levels do what the
voters who voted them into office elected them to do. That applies to all
three levels of government: municipal, provincial and federal.
Who falls asleep in a democracy will wake
up in a dictatorship.
— Otto Gritschneder,
(when asked why he wants to publicize the system of terror in German
military justice under the Nazis — an estimated 50,000 death sentences
had been pronounced by German military tribunals, and of those 20,000
had been executed during and right after the second world war)
in opposing the County Office's proposal for the expansion of the
heavy-industrial zone. If you have any suggestions for possible
strategies or if you wish to actively participate in any way at all in forming an effective
Just in case that no transcript of the meeting will be available to the public, could those people who asked questions and received
answers provide summaries of the questions they asked and of the answers
they received? (Update 2007 05 03: according to a
02 e-mail message by Debbie Hamilton from the County Office, no
transcript of the question-and-answer period of the public meeting will be
provided to the public)
Posted 2007 04 28
2007 04 28 (added quote from Otto Gritschneder, and the
containing the appeal for input to be used in effective opposition of the
County's proposed zoning change)
2007 05 03 (edited to reflect a few relevant items of information)
2007 05 05 (added link to Allan Harvey's April 25,
2007 speaking notes)
2007 05 11 (added two photos: Gallows of
the County and City-Living Country Style)
2007 05 12 (added photo of petrochemical plants a mile west
of Range Road 213)
2008 01 03 (revised the wording of the
subsequent two sentences to remove the accusatory tone - let there be no
mistake, the editorial and journalistic content of the Lamont leader is a
vast improvement over what was in place prior to its coming into existence;
inserted note for 2008 01 03 update)