MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY – County council has approved amendments to the municipality’s topsoil bylaw, changes that include a new section on responsibility for ensuring quality on the part of the applicant.
The move came during the recent regularly scheduled council meeting, which was held by teleconference.
The update is part of a review of existing bylaws for effectiveness and to bring them into compliance with other legislation.
The amendment to Bylaw No. 11/20 regarding topsoil quality reads as follows:
“Applicants (for topsoil permits) are responsible for determining the quality of topsoil, including undertaking a content analysis, determination of any chemical contaminants or residual herbicides and the presence of disease prior to application for a topsoil permit. Topsoil permits that contemplate the addition of poor quality topsoil or topsoil that contains high quantities of clay may be denied by the topsoil review committee.”
The bylaw defines the topsoil appeal committee as meaning the county’s agricultural fieldman and a member of the planning and development department appointed by the county’s CAO.
The updated permits section includes the following addition: “The topsoil appeal committee shall conduct a hearing of the appeal in alignment with legislated subdivision and development appeal board timelines and practices, or as stipulated further within the approved committee terms of reference.”
The amended bylaw also includes the following addition regarding water flow:
“The topsoil permit does not give any permissions for alterations to the water flow on the lands, including any changes to drainage, diversion, installation of tile drainage, infilling, creation of dugouts, ditches, berms and water crossings or any change that could create a change to the flow, volume or velocity of flow of water on another parcel of land. Alberta government approval shall be obtained prior to beginning the activity in the event that any of the above applies.”
Exemptions to permit requirements outlined in the updated bylaw include the following addition:
“The removal of topsoil as an incidental part of a normal farm practice including such removal as an incidental part of sod-farming, greenhouse operations and nurseries for horticultural products shall be exempt from this bylaw.”
An exemption from the requirement for a topsoil permit may be, in writing, under the following criteria: the work being completed requires less than 40 cubic metres of topsoil to be hauled into, or out of, the lands; the work being completed does not involve the creation or filling of a wetland.”
The complete updated bylaw is available for viewing on the county's website.