County eyes Crown land in Faust for development

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Big Lakes County is taking steps to buy provincial Crown land in Faust for future development.

At its regular meeting Jan. 9, council authorized administration to apply for the land on the east side of the hamlet.

The land is east of Range Road 112 north of Highway 2 and south of the railway tracks.

“It would be prime land for an industrial park right along the highway,” Faust Councillor Robert Nygaard says.

“All the utilities are right there.”

The land would provide more space for growth of the hamlet, says Pat Olansky, director of planning and development.

She notes about one third of the requested land is wetlands in the northern part, not usable to develop.

“We can put together an application,” CAO Jordan Panasiuk says.

Council first applied for a land exchange in 2014, But it soon became evident an application for exchange is complicated.

“It’s more a process to trade [Crown] land than to buy,” Reeve Richard Simard says.

The government also wants a fair deal in an exchange.

But the initial request does not support that.

“Alberta Environment and Parks completed an appraisal of the county land and advised that it was not of equal value to the Crown land,” Olansky says.

“Big Lakes County subsequently offered other county-owned land for consideration in the land exchange.”

The lands identified by the county for the exchange do not meet the government’s criteria under the ‘net benefit’ policy.

Olansky adds the application requires the county to complete an extensive referral process to determine if the land should be sold.

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