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Dunvegan Gardens Starting Last Lap in Land Use Battle

Fort McMurray, AB, Canada / MIX 103.7
Dunvegan Gardens Starting Last Lap in Land Use Battle

Dunvegan Gardens eight-year battle will be coming to an end one way or another next month.

On Tuesday, Wood Buffalo council very briefly discussed the ongoing situation – approving the first step in changing the designation of their boundary in Draper.

A few residents crowded into the council chambers eager to give their opinion on the matter but were told they could only speak at an upcoming public hearing scheduled for May 8.

VP of Operations Brad Friesen tells Mix News the next month will be the most nervous time of his life.

“We had 15,000 people sign our petition last year, so we definitely have the public’s support – I guess we’ll see what happens between now and then and see what we can rally for council and mayor.”

Back in September 2016, Dunvegan was handed a stop-work order which was appealed – allowing them to continue operations.

The Draper area has two land use designations within its boundaries: Country Residential and Small Holdings. The intent of these designations is to provide a larger lot while maintaining a quiet, rural atmosphere.

Dunvegan’s property was under ‘small holdings’ and because of this, they were told they had unauthorized farm animals, unauthorized commercial landscaping, and unauthorized sale of goods – with Friesen saying multiple times they had permits for.

Last March, the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board decided that Dunvegan could continue operations but needed to get new applications within one year.

Council will get the last say as they will vote on whether Friesen’s amendment application will move forward.

“If they vote it all down, the doors on the front end will close, the greenhouse might be open – the giftware and Christmas Wonderland, those types of things, will be all finished,” said Friesen.

Meanwhile, Mayor Don Scott is encouraging anybody interested in speaking about the situation to come to next month’s public hearing.

“We know it’s an important topic in the community, the information we’re going to be considering as part of our decision is the information that’s presented to council as part of the public debate.”

Friesen adds if they’re no longer allowed to sell goods, they could lose around 25 per cent of their retail operations.

Council Honouring Humboldt Victims

To start their meeting, council held a moment of silence to honour the 15 lives lost in last week’s crash in Saskatchewan.

They also wore jerseys as another sign of support for everyone impacted by the tragedy.

“People of Canada came to us when we went through a tragedy in our region and we feel very connected to the people of Humboldt,” added Scott.

He says they’ve also sent a letter to Humboldt’s mayor and the Broncos organization highlighting their support for the community.

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