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Mountain View County council approves new snow fence policy, procedure

New livestock guard policy also approved by Mountain View County council

MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY - County council has approved two new polices, one regarding snow fencing and one regarding livestock guards or cattle guards on county roads and right-of-ways.

The new policies and accompanying procedures were developed by the governance review committee and brought before council on Sept. 14.

“I think these are great because these policies give administration good direction,” said reeve Angela Aalbers. “They are clear and concise too and the expectations of what administration can do.”

Council also reviewed a number of updates to existing policies and procedures.

The new snow fence policy No. 4028 outlines standards for use and deployment of the fences, largely focused on “maintaining clear and safe roadways during winter operations through preventative and mitigative use of snow fence only where absolutely necessary.”

It states, in parts, that under the Public Highways Development Act, the “county has the authority to enter private lands and to erect snow fencing for the purpose of preventing or mitigating snow drifting on public roads.

“The county will endeavour to contact affected landowners in order to mitigate any potential disruption in farming operations associated with the installation of snow fencing on private land.”

Chris Atchison, director of legislative services, spoke to council about the new policy.

“Between operations and legislative we’ve worked together to develop this policy and procedure based on current practices, essentially giving guidelines to operational services on when and where the deployment of snow fence will occur,” he said.

The procedure states that snow fences shall be constructed of either metal poles with perforated plastic fencing - 1.8 metres or shorter, metal or wood poles with wooden fencing - greater than 1.8 metres, approved variation of similar materials.”

Landowners choosing to install snow fence or other barriers to drift snow, on their own property are required to follow all applicable county bylaws and policies.

Under the procedure accompanying the new policy, a snow fence is defined as a “temporary or permanent fence constructed to force windblown drifting snow to accumulate in a desired place and primarily employed to minimize snowdrift on roadways.”

The new livestock guards policy No. 4029 states that the county will establish a consistent minimum standard for the construction, installation, maintenance and removal of livestock guards.

“The county shall evaluate the locations for prospective and existing livestock guards at appropriate intervals to determine efficacy and necessity. Installation and removal to be determined by the director of operations or designate.

“Various designs in the construction and installation of livestock guards may be approved by the director of operations or designate provided they meet or exceed the minimum standards set forth by the county and/or is prepared by a qualified engineer.”

Under the procedure accompanying the new policy, a livestock guard means a type of obstacle used to prevent livestock from passing along a road or railway which penetrates the fencing surrounding an enclosed piece of land.

“It consists of a depressing in the road covered by a transverse grid of bars or tubes made of metal and firmly fixed to the ground on either side of the depression, so that the gaps between them are wide enough for an animal’s feet to enter but sufficiently narrow not to impede a wheeled vehicle or human foot.”

The Sept. 14 council meeting was held in person and on Zoom.