North- ern Sunrise County Council gave first reading to a proposed bylaw for Temporary Camp Districts at its meeting on Jan. 10.
The bylaw would allow council to approve locations of temporary camps within the Agricultural District.
“The benefit would be to allow council an opportunity to review requests for work camps,” says Reeve Corinna Williams.
“This would be reviewed on a case-by-case basis to ensure the County is balancing the needs of the oil and gas industry with the preservation of agricultural land.”
The bylaw comes in light of a request from a business owner who is struggling to find employees in the local area and is trying to find a solution to housing should they hire from outside the area.
The proposed bylaw allows council to review the redistricting applications and either approve or disapprove of specific locations of temporary camps. Council would first consider the application. Once approved, the applicant then would have to follow the development permit process outlined by council.
Administration has included a clause in the bylaw that the applicant would have to follow up at the six-month mark to ensure there are no concerns with the camp.
“There is no specific area being proposed,” says Williams. “It would include agricultural zoned lands that are 15 kilometres away from a hamlet or village and the land rating for agricultural purposes must be low.”
The next step for council is holding a public hearing Feb. 14 at 10 a.m. Williams says there will be notifications both in local newspapers and on the County’s website.
“This would allow local business owners to situate their employees, contractors and subcontractors closer to the oil and gas development as some business owners are having trouble finding local staff,” she says.