Thorhild County, about an hour north of Edmonton, has been the subject of access to information investigations by Rebel News into the county's bizarre rewrite of its land bylaws in partnership with a foreign urban planning consulting firm.
Thorhild, a largely rural county, has a population of approximately 3,000 residents across 2,000 sq. km. However, the county recently attempted to redraft the local land use regulations with the help of a consulting firm, Green Space Alliance Urban Planning Firm (GSA).
GSA is an international company based in India focusing on green urban planning.
According to reporting by Arthur Green of the Western Standard, residents were outraged at the potential new regulations.
Locals told Green:
"The proposed LUB also refers the reader to documents that don't exist or don't exist in the capacity that the LUB suggests that they do. For example, our proposed LUB directs the reader to the 'Urban Hen Bylaw' though council voted against Urban Hens on Jan 14, 2021, and there is no such document. Our proposed LUB also directs us to the Animal Control Act for how to keep animals/livestock; however, our County's Animal Control Bylaw is specific to dogs."
"We have concerns about including the strict limiting of food production, we are an agricultural county."
After heated debate at council meetings, the county has since reverted to the previous land use rules from 2015.
Rebel News filed for contract details and communications relating to GSA and the county. But instead of documents, Rebel News received two separate invoices totalling $2,100 for the trove of records.
Rebel News appealed to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner. However, the documents have not been released. Thorhild lawyered up to fight the appeal, hiring outside legal help.
To support Rebel News' fight to access records relating to GSA and Thorhild's land use bylaws, donate at www.RebelInvestigates.
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