Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - February 27, 1975, Lethbridge, Alberta
Thursday, February 27, 1975 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD 19 Rural-urban land use compromise recommended Commentary Lougheed irrigation plan heard tonight By GEORGE STEPHENSON Herald Staff Writer TABER "We in the South look at irrigation securing food as being as important as Syncrude securing says the Taber Irrigation District manager. And that general mood, throughout the rural riding of Taber Warner, has set the plain on which the provincial election battle here will be won or lost. A major volley is expected to be fired tonight when Premier Peter Lougheed makes an irrigation policy statement at a rally in Taber for Conservative candidate Bob Bogle. The Herald has learned the premier is expected to announce a major irrigation investment program for Southern Alberta. The expected announcement could be a counter punch to the Social Credit plan, announced last September, that said another J200 million in low interest investment money should be pumped into irriga- tion during the next decade. That revolving loan fund, sup- ported by the Socred caucus, was announced by party leader and' Socred candidate in Taber Warner, Werner Schmidt. Although the election was called on Alberta's energy stand, Mr. Bogle, Mr. Schmidt and NDP can- didate Brian Aman have climbed aboard the irrigation bandwagon. All three candidates are pushing for increased government aid to up- grade existing irrigation systems and bring other tracts of dry land under irrigation. Mr. Schmidt, making a third try at an election victory since becom- ing leader of the party, says he looks at irrigation as an important issue in the campaign but adds energy is an "equal issue." He adds he will be hitting on all planks of the Socred platform including support for the family farm, government spending and recreation. Irrigation is key to seat Mr. Bogle, 30, a Milk River school teacher and restaurateur, has narrowed his focus to irrigation, recreation, senior citizens and decentralization of government departments. But irrigation, Hfeblood of the rural economies in the South, is viewed as the stepping stone to a provincial seat. Ken Anderson, secretary manager of TID, says farmers and townspeople alike are concerned about irrigation because of increas- ed field production and resulting secondary industry for small towns. Any major announcement to increase government support of irrigation could then swing Mr. Bogle, touted as a cabinet possibility, into a favorable position heading into the second half of the campaign. Farming officials say area farmers would likely warm to an- nouncements that more money will be spent on upgrading deteriorating irrigation systems rather than putting more land, outside existing districts, under irrigation. Businessmen in riding towns, on the other hand, see wide spread irrigation as a catalyst for increased industry. Mr. Bogle, who seems better versed on irrigation than Mr. Schmidt, says the government should first increase spending on up- grading programs. More money should be made available to irrigation districts to earmark as they see fit. And pro- jects dealing with canal rehabilita- tion should set priorities on miles of canals to be fixed and not on dollars .to be spent, he adds. Mr. Schmidt says more money should be pumped into irrigation works with a greater look taken at water sources. Mr. Aman, who will be conducting a low key campaign because of teaching duties in Coutts during the week, says he will focus1 on water wastage in irrigation. "Irrigation water could be used more effectively in closed canals, cutting water losses to the at- he says. A nnouncement may provide issue The major difference in what the primary candidates, Mr. Bogle and Mr. Schmidt, are saying is the im- pending announcement tonight and any other irrigation issues providing the backdrop for the campaign. Promises by the Conservatives on upgrading irrigation systems or on the proposed "high line" irrigation project could take large gouges in Socred holdings, made comfortable when Socred Premier Harry Strom first introduced upgrading programs to Southern irrigation. The high line project is the construction of a canal that would cut through the southern part of the riding, bringing water to acres of dry land. The government's irrigation divi- sion has been surveying farmers who would be affected by the canal to find how many support its construction. The division has found "positive interest" in the project, says a divi- sion official. The government has not yet said it will go ahead with such a scheme, but could, as an election gambit, say it is ready to proceed if farmers are willing. A stronger possibility is an elec- tion promise by the government to increase spending on rehabilitation of existing irrigation works. Irrigation managers and farmers have been saying, long before the election, the government's current program would take 20 to 30 years to complete when the job should be done in 10 years. Glen Purnell, deputy minister of agriculture, says his department could gear up to accommodate those types of promises made on the campaign trail. The riding was won in 1971 by Doug Miller, who topped Mr. Bogle by 710 votes. Mr. Miller retired this year. It is the first time the NDP has fielded a candidate in the con- stituency. Cardston milk bylaw still in limbo A new bylaw imposing a licence fee of for any dairy wishing to compete in Cardston with the locat Co Operative Creamery is still in limbo. Town secretary Keith Bevans told The Herald Tues- day another meeting "in the near future" between members of the bylaw com-, mittee from council and the board of directors of the Co Operative Creamery has been called. He said the meeting call, following a council meeting establishing the bylaw and another ratifying the bylaw, could mean some Hesitation on part of council. "The council has not instructed me to serve notice on Palm Dairies of the increased licence said Mr. Bevans. "Council is still feeling the temperature of things." Palm Dairies is the only company servicing Cardston besides the local creamery. Herman Moltz, manager of the Lethbridge Palm dairy, said, he knows nothing about the progress of the bylaw and is simply waiting for word Stavely auction Saturday STAVELY (Special) The first fund raising event for the proposed Willow Creek Agricultural Society and Claresholm Fair and Stampede Association Agriplex Building will take place here Saturday. It will be a "white elephant auction sale." The event will begin at I p.m. The Stavely Livestock Auction Market has donated its facilities and staff for the event. Money raised will help finance a 40 acre recreational and agricultural development at Clareshom. Agricultural society and stampede association officials have received a provincial grant for the project and have applied for a loan from the federal department of agriculture. from the town one way or the other. When and if the notice of increased licence fees is served, Mr. Moltz will confer with company officials to determine action. Following announcement of the bylaw, Cardston residents started to complain that it might force Palm Dairies out of the region, excluding a choice of product. Petitions were signed and presented to council requesting the bylaw be rescinded. Council refuted the petition request at the time, claiming it was not properly sponsored and contained many names of persons under 16 years of age. Council maintained its posi- tion that without the higher licence fee, approximating the taxes and fees paid annua- ly by the Cardston Co Operative Creamery, the local creamery was at a com- petitive disadvantage to other dairies. Because Lethbridge is included in milk control zone, no other dairies can compete in the region while the Lethbridge dairies can sell outside the milk control zone. By RIC SWIHART Herald Staff Writer A compromise of land use between rural and urban residents is needed to satisfy the demand ol all of society, says Vaughan Hembroff, Lethbridge alderman par- ticipating in a panel on use of rural land. Mr. Hembroff told 450 par- ticipants in the annual Alberta Agricultural Service Board Conference at the Holiday Inn Tuesday "I think of the proper use of rural land the same as any city slicker should production of food for us and the world." While he feels rural land should be preserved for food production, "in my view, the farming kingdom is in danger of being taken over by city sharpies. And I don't blame them for trying." Taber businesses get deadline TABER (Staff) Town council has given the Taber Businessmens' Association until March 24 to decide what its position actually is on shopping hours here. The Chamber has recommended that town coun- cil amend its shopping hours bylaw to increase eligible shopping hours to 6 p.m. week days, including Wednesdays. Fridays the closing time would be 9 p.m. At present stores here close their doors at 1 p.m. Wednesdays. A second amendment is to allow shopping to 9 p.m. Thur- sdays, Fridays and Saturdays for the four weeks preceding Christmas Day. Meanwhile, Ed Engwer, operator of the Taber Stedman Store and the local merchant most adamantly op- posed to early closing, Wednesday mailed a letter to the Alberta attorney general protesting that town council is not acting on the wishes of the majority of the people here. Mr. Engwer, who has been in court seven times on the issue, says the early closing bylaw is "hurting the economy of the town." He says although he has paid four fines for contravening the bylaw, he prefers to remember the times he has won his court battles and will continue to fight town hall on the issue. Mr. Engwer says Councillor Dennis Turin doesn't want late night shopping for per- sonal reasons "but why should they close the rest of us." Mr. Engwer says the TEA hasn't had a meeting since Oc- tober but the Chamber has been trying to push something through on behalf of the merchants. The Chamber survey show- ed 68 per cent of Taber citizens favored longer shopp- ing periods here, says Mr. Engwer. Then, he says, a Taber town councillor "turns around and says 'why should a large ma- jority of citizens tell us we should stay New Taber official named TABER (HNS) J. Neil Brodie, 32, of Leduc has been employed as assistant secretary treasurer of the Town of Taber, effective Saturday. With 10 years experience in municipal government positions in Ontario, Mr. Brodie succeeds Larry Flex- haug who is now employed as secretary treasurer by the Town of Claresholm. He is married' with two children. Co'incil this week approved the appointment of George H. Bambrick of Red Deer to the position of storekeeper at the town maintenance shop. He succeeds W. Ray Hackett who is retiring. The position is effective April 1. Labor dispute EDMONTON (CP) The Provincial Labor Relations Board announced Wednesday it has appointed a board of- ficer to investigate a dispute between the Christian Labor Association of Canada (CLAC) and a painter's union. The association has charged the International Brotherhood with interference. He credits the "stand in line, run about life" of the city for the increased pressures of urban residents to find their place in the country. That place must come from farmland. Mr. Hembroff said there should be more planning of areas for city dwellers to own land. Farmers should not be so stingy with poor land if they can protect the good land for food production. Mr. Hembroff proposed two solutions. Whenever land is sold in the province, the ven- dor could be required to "carve out" 10 per cent of the land or cash value to build up a reserve of land for small holdings which could be sold at a fair market value to urban residnts. This would help to spread the small holdings across Alberta rather than promoting the congregation of the holdings in areas which tend to be difficult and expen- sive to service and maintain. His other solution is forma- tion of rural preserves con- sisting of large or small holdings where urban residents could spend their holiday time playing farmer. This would satisfy some of the need to be out in the country while proving to the urban resident farming may not be all that easy. Mr. Hembroff said if farmers and the farm com- munity don't recognize the desire of urban residents to own land or realize the benefits they have of living on farms, "you'll lose it." He predicted the growing urban population and the resulting larger "political clout" could result in a stage where the demand for land by urban residents could be met by government legislation. Bill Toews of Edmonton, supervisor of the so'ls branch for the Alberta department of agriculture, said the capabili- ty to produce food is the key to rural land use. He said only 1.2 per cent, less than two million acres of land in Alberta, is Class I soil with no limitations to produc- tion.' This compared with 45 per cent which is classed as non agricultural. Mr. Toews said the competi- tion between urban and rural residents for rural land is complex. He said the solution has to come from a combina- tion of private interests, land suitability, political pressures and public concern. Pointing to the Edmonton area where a half of one per cent of the class I land in the province was taken out of production from 1966 to 1973, Mr. Toews said the land prices paid by sectors other than agriculture is preventing farm expansion. He said farmers, especially young men, are forced out of a buying situation by the higher prices paid by speculators and commercial interests. Only 60 per cent of Alberta farmland is owned by the operator.and this will continue as long as speculation is allowed, said Mr. Toews. Productivity and farming practices also play a role in non farm opinion of land use, said Mr. Toews. With to acres of Alberta farmland out of production due to salinity, it is hard to convince urban planners farmers are short of land when this goes on. Another six or seven million acres of farmland is left in summerfallow annually when, with use of fertilizer, chemicals, water and better management, farmers could operate more intensively, said Mr. Toews. Country residences can make farms unproductive, said Dallas Schmidt, reeve of the County of Wetaskiwin. "It is amazing how un- productive a farm can become if a developer carves some land out of the he said. But to legislate this type of land use is difficult: "You step on the toes of individual rights." While having no solution, Mr. Schmidt said assessment of land in each municipal dis: trict or county should not be used to dictate land use. Country residences bring in more tax revenue than when the land is used as a farm. He added that no person should be able to hold more land than they can use. On the hustings LETHBRIDGE WEST Conservative candidate. John Gogo says he is not concerned he may be criticized for televi- sion appearances on behalf of the Canada Winter Games Lottery during the March 26 election campaign. "There is no bad Mr. Gogo concedes. But spot TV appearances to advertise the lottery were planned well before the election call, he says. The spots, which feature Mr. Gogo as chairman of the lottery, only cost about for time on both local channels, says lottery advertising chief Bruce MacKenzie. The stations have also offered free time for coverage of the lottery draw March 17, but Mr. MacKenzie says it has not been decided how the draw ceremonies will be handled. CYPRESS Social Credit candidate Barry Bernhardt is plugging irrigation in his campaign as a tool to diversify this constituency's economy. "If we irrigate the land, we can diversify, that is, produce a greater variety of cereal says the Foremost realtor "It is a well known economic principle that if your production is varied, your general economy is much more stable." Rail cost investigation suggested by minister An investigation of railroad incomes and expenses should be undertaken before further freight rates for agricultural goods are allowed, says Alberta Deputy Minister of Agriculture Glen Purnell. Dr. Purnell told The Herald Tuesday the Alberta govern- ment wants justification for the rail freight rate increases already granted by the Cana- dian Transport Commission and further increases now be- ing sought by the rail com- panies. The CTC has given the rail companies an across the board rate increase of 12.5 per cent on about one quarter of ail freight moved in Canada. The companies have another rate increase request before the CTC for another 12.5 per cent. Dr. Purnell told the Alberta Agricultural Service Board Conference it is the percent- age rate increase which is of most concern to the provincial government, a factor which could' damage the meat processing industry in Alberta and affect hundreds of jobs. The freight rate for moving processed carcasses to Eastern Canada is about dou- ble that of the rate for moving live animals to the same market. When a percentage rate increase is granted, the difference between the rates for the dressed and live cargo is widened. Dr. Purnell said it has to be proven to him there is indeed such a wide difference in the cost of moving dressed and live cargo. And the only way to find out is to check -the books of the rail companies. Under the present freight rate schedule for dressed car- cass and live animals, it is like a lever against Alberta processors to ship dressed carcasses, he said. Dances set Square dances will be held in the next few days at Fort Macleod and Taber! The Midnight Squares of Fort Macleod will have a practice at 8 and a dance at Friday night in the elementary school. The Milk River Belles and Beaux will conduct a dance at 8 Tuesday night at the Elks hall. You're not disconnected from your money at The Oshawa Connection Now's the time to save at Beny's! GET GM'S REBATE S200 of VEGAS NOVAS on OMEGAS EXAMPLE SP110 1975 VEGA 2-DOORHATCHBACK COUPE With 4 cylinder engine, automatic transmission, tinted windows, front and rear floor mats, sports mirrors, custom wheel covers, radial tires, custom interior. Retail Less Discount GM Rebate 200.00 Down Payment 500.00 1005.65 Your monthly payment only 123.06 for 36 months. EXAMPLE ?1975 NOVA CUSTOM 2-DOOR COUPE With 6 cylinder engine, automatic transmission, power brakes, power steering, steel belted radial tires, dual horns, radio. Retail Less Discount 481.55 GM Rebate 200.00 Down Payment 700.00 1381.55 Your monthly payment only 136.75 for 36 months. 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