Correspondence relating to the April 25, 2007 Land-Use
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
- E-mail message 2007 04 30 to Debbie
Hamilton, requesting a full transcript of the evening's proceedings and
providing suggestions on how the problems that plagued the meeting can
be overcome and prevented.
-------- Original Message --------
||Re: Land-Use Bylaw Meeting April 25, 2007
||Mon, 30 Apr 2007 09:51:07 -0600
||Walter H. Schneider
Dear Debbie Hamilton,
Please be so good and let me know how a full transcript of the April 25,
2007 Land-Use Bylaw Meeting can be obtained or accessed.
Specifically, I would like to be able to read transcripts or files of
the following portions of the evening's meeting:
It would be much appreciated if that information could be provided in
- Allan Harvey' opening presentation, including the PowerPoint
presentation on rural and urban growth trends - produced by the
Alberta Government - that Allan had used;
- Your presentation;
- The two presentations made by Bill Dolman;
- Allan Harvey's concluding presentation, and
- The questions asked and answers provided during the
question-and-answer period at the end of the meeting.
The following outlines a few concerns and suggestions that you may wish
to consider when you stage public follow-up meetings relating to the
Land-Use Bylaw revisions or other similar meetings.
Anticipating your response,
- Sound Quality
The sound quality of the PA system was very poor. Some
experimentation may be needed to tune up the PA system prior to any
further meetings, to ensure that the best possible quality of the
sound reproduction can be provided at the actual meeting.
It is advisable to explore and address the causes of
the excessively sub-standard performance of the PA system that
night. Perhaps one or the other or both are required: a) a
better microphone or b) a better amplifier. Either or both
could provide better audio-fidelity.
In addition, acoustic feedback was a problem.
That was addressed only by reducing the volume of the sound provided
by the PA system that night. Reducing the sound volume
resulted in a partial improvement. Some experimentation prior
to the meeting should have included the option of relocating the
microphone on the podium until a spot was found that prevented
acoustic feedback from occurring or at least minimizing it.
Doing that often provides a better solution to an objectionable
condition of acoustic feedback from loudspeakers to microphone than
a reduction of the sound volume does.
- Microphones for the Audience
Most of the questions asked could neither be heard nor understood by
the vast majority of the audience. A microphone should be
provided in each aisle of the seating provided for audiences even
smaller than that present at the April 25 meeting.
- Legibility of Viewgraphs
You should have used a much larger screen for displaying the
viewgraphs. It is unfortunate that the ceiling height in the
Recreation Centre sets a limit to what can be done in that respect,
but the fact is that the height of your screen fell short by a few
feet from coming close to reaching the ceiling.
The contents of all viewgraphs presented should be
clearly visible and legible for all members of the audience, not
just for a relatively small portion of the audience sitting in the
centre of a few front rows. A combination of a larger screen
and of the use of fonts no smaller than size 14 will achieve that
objective. That would also enable the presenters to accurately
read to the audience what is on the viewgraphs they present.
It appeared that the microphone was not located close enough to the
screen to permit even the presenters to read accurately what they
showed on the screen. Especially Bill Dolman's presentation
was affected by that shortcoming, although his problems may have
been caused by nothing more than an overdue eye examination, as you
and Allan Harvey were to a much lesser extent affected by the large
distance between the microphone and the screen.
The information presented on a viewgraph should be
limited by the volume of text that can be displayed in font-size 14,
not by how much the presenter wishes to cram with much smaller font
sizes into a viewgraph.
- Presenters Having Private Discussions during Their
Do not permit your presenters to become involved in the middle of
their presentations in private discussions and exchanges of which
the audience can hear only one side, that is, the response by the
presenter. When there is a question from the audience as to
what the concern was that a presenter responds to, it does not
create a good impression when the presenter then states: "I did not
respond to a question, I responded to a statement," provides no
summary of what the concern he responded to was and then simply
carries on with his presentation. Of course, problems of that
nature could easily be avoided if the individuals addressing the
presenter would be provided with access to a microphone.
- Keeping the Audience Interested
It was quite obvious that many members of the audience became
restless and even left during Bill Dolman's presentations. You
must consider that any presentation containing more than 30
viewgraphs is quite simply too long. It does not help to
intensify the poor impressions created through an overly-long
presentation by berating the audience for becoming restless.
The fault for restlessness of the audience rests with the presenter,
not with the audience.
It was not a good idea to present so many of the
details of the draft version of the Land-Use Bylaw. It would
have been far better to have focused on the problems faced by the
county (in objective, tangible, absolute and relative terms) and on
the major objectives that you wish to accomplish in addressing those
problems through the proposed by-law changes, to summarize each, to
present a list of the alternatives that were considered in each case
in coming up with a solution to a given problem, to explain why
given alternatives were rejected and why a particular solution was
The presentation of the draft of the changed Land-Use
Bylaw swamped the members of the audience with an excessive amount
of information that left them largely unable to differentiate
between very important and relatively less important issues.
Furthermore, the audience was left with the impression that the
Lamont County Office staff are unable to see the forest for the
large number of trees they obsess over. Last, but not least, a
large volume of of detailed information like that your office
presented leaves the audience with the (not unreasonable) impression
that important issues are deliberately being hidden.
- Details that Should be Included in a Notice of Public Meeting
When you announce another public meeting such as that for the draft
of the changed Land-Use Bylaw, you will create more goodwill and
save county residents effort and money if you were to to include a
statement of at least one or perhaps three or more of the major
items of public concern that the proposed bylaw change is supposed
to address. It is not sufficient to state that the Land-Use
Bylaw meeting will identify the changes to be made to the bylaw.
If you had stated in the notice of public meeting that
one of the major changes was to expand the Lamont County's portion
of the Industrial Heartland (by a factor of ten) to 41.5 sections of
land at the western edge of our county (preferably, and as customary
in other jurisdictions, with a map showing the zoning change), you
would have motivated as many people to come to that meeting as did
the flyer published and distributed by a resident of the County at
his own expense. His effort and expense would then not have
been necessary, and the County Office would not have come across as
wanting to hide something or wanting to create a handicap for the
public (in whose interests you ostensibly work) by unnecessarily and
grossly shortening the interval available to the public in which to
react to such a proposal.
Of course, you and I know that, given that the County
Office pursues an agenda that differs substantially from the wishes
of the majority of the county residents, that to have included a map
of the zoning change in your notice of public meeting would have
harmed your aims. After all, the map that you would have been
able to include with the notice of public meeting would have shown a
substantially larger area of land zoned "heavy industrial".
The version of the
Proposed Land Use Map that you presented at the Land-Use Bylaw
Meeting and show at your website was issued April 24, 2007, one day
prior to the meeting and a full seven days after your notice of
public meeting got published April 17, 2007 in the Lamont Leader.
Cc: Various county rate payers, residents of Bruderheim and Lamont,
Debbie Hamilton's response (2007 05
In response to your comments and requests below, I provide the
- Al Harvey’s opening presentation. His speaking notes are
attached for your reference. [The notes were not attached]
His power point presentations are available at the County Office for
pick up should you wish copies. [It appears that the county
office feels that it is less trouble and cheaper to drive to the
County Office to pick up hard copies than it is to attach the
digital files to
e-mail responses. — WHS]
- My presentation: A copy of the power point presentations is
available at the County Office for pick up should you wish a copy.
It is also currently on our website but there are issues relative to
opening it. We will be meeting with our tech support tomorrow to
try and mitigate the problem. [It it seems that is deemed to be
easier to search the County Office's website for where the files may
be than to either attach a copy to an e-mail response or to quote a
web page address. — WHS]
- The two presentations made by Bill Dolman : Copies of the power
point presentations are available at the County Office for pick up.
[Again, it is of little service to have to drive to Lamont to
pick up those copies. It would have been far easier and much
cheaper to attach them to the e-mail
response. — WHS]
- Al Harvey’s concluding presentation: as indicated in 1. above.
[Sorry, but the file was not attached to the e-mail response.
- The questions asked and answers…..: A detail of this is not
available. At the meeting that evening, Mr. Harvey asked if anyone
had questions on the process or required further clarity on the
proposed changes. He also requested and encouraged written
comments to the County relative to what was presented. This is also
specifically indicated in his speaking notes. [Of course not.
It would perhaps not do to have a record of the exchanges that took
place during the question-and-answer period. — WHS]
Numerous individuals have requested copies of all the power point
presentations. We have made copies readily available at the office to
anyone wishing them. We are now endeavoring to place all of them on our
Thank you for your questions and your comments relative to the
process and deliverance of the information at the meeting on April 25th,
Director of Planning & Community Services
Debbie Hamilton's follow-up (2007 05
I realized after sending off my email that I inadvertently missed
sending the attachment. It is now attached for your information.
Sorry about that.
Debbie Hamilton, Director of Planning and Community Services
[There was an attachment:
Speaking notes for Allan Harvey's presentations; PDF file, 59.6 kB)
Maybe I have the wrong impression, but either the County Office staff is
completely inept or they think that they can pull the wool over or eyes and
get away with that.
Industrial-Heartland Expansion Main Page
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)
The members of the Friends of Lamont County urge you to become involved
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 opposition, please
Just in case that no transcript of the meeting will be made
available to the public (obviously, there will
be none of that with respect to the question-and-answer period), could those people who asked questions and received
answers provide summaries of the questions they asked and of the answers
Posted 2007 05 01
2007 05 03 (posted Debbie Hamilton's response
2007 05 02)