By Cole Parkinson
The battle to finish the lake in Westview Estates is coming to a head, or at least the residents hope.
After several years of waiting for the lake to be completely finished, residents are banding together to see the finish line.
During the Town of Taber’s regular meeting on June 25, a room full of Westview Estimates residents packed in council chambers to find some answers why the development was still unfinished.
“We’re here today to discuss, us as homeowners of Westview development, our concerns with the lake in our development. We want to know the future plans of the completion of the lake in the development. The homeowners in this development are tired of being pushed aside, we feel the value of our homes are depleting because of the state the lake is in. We pay one of the highest property taxes to the town and keep getting ignored with our concerns,” said Rhonda DeBona, a resident of Westview Estates.
In coming to council, the residents wanted three questions answered — When is landscaping around the pond walkway and peninsula going to be completed, will there be an aeration system installed and will there be a children’s play area installed as promised.
They also brought concerns of flower beds and trees on the south side not being maintained by the Town, even though it is the Town’s responsibility .
“We want to know why in 10 years, it’s still in the shape it’s in. You’re blaming the developer, the developer is blaming the town. Unfortunately (the developer) isn’t here tonight with us to share his side of the story. Hopefully, I can get him in for the next meeting because there will be a next meeting. We aren’t going away with this, we’re fed up,” added DeBona.
With blame being pointed back and forth, town administration wasn’t confident in giving any concrete moving forward plans.
In order to establish a base on what went wrong and who is to blame for the delay in getting the work done, administration said the best thing to do was bring the issue back to a future meeting.
“In order to give these the best answers, I don’t think we should get into them from the administrative side tonight without going back and doing some homework,” said CAO Cory Armfelt.
Councillors also felt this was the best way to proceed.
They also highlighted the fact the issue has been burning for several years too long.
“I was off council for four years and these questions were on the council before I left, they have existed for a lot of years. The truth of the matter is, the developer is blaming the town and the town is blaming the developer, we need to get a clear answer. Who’s to blame, is it the town or the developer? If it’s the town, we need to fix it. If it’s the developer, he needs to finish it,” said Coun. Louie Tams.
Tams suggested for administration to do some digging and bring the issue right back to council for their next meeting scheduled for July 16.
“Ultimately we’re looking for some common ground to try and find a solution,” stated Mayor Andrew Prokop.
Other councillors offered similar sentiments in moving forward.
“Since I am a resident as well at Westview, I see all of your questions and they need to be answered,” said Coun. Jack Brewin.
Those who have been on council for a number of years also feel the issue needs to be resolved quickly.
“I’ve been on council for five years and it seems this issue comes back to council every two months. It’s been going on and on for a long time, I think the town needs to step up to the plate if this developer is not going to go forward,” said Coun. Joe Strojwas.
A motion was made for council to accept the delegation as information and to instruct administration to do homework on Westview Estates development agreements and return to the discussion at the July 16 meeting.
The motion was passed unanimously.