|RM OF BROKENHEAD CONDITIONAL USE HEARING
Mark B. and John [Kundert] appeared before the RM of Brokenhead Council
on Tuesday, March 8, to formally seek a Conditional Use Order that would
permit Naturist Legacy Inc. to operate a campground on its property. As
mentioned in previous updates, Conditional Use applications can be granted,
rejected, or granted with restrictions by Council after a public hearing.
There is no appeal process. We are very pleased to report that our Conditional
Use application has been granted without restrictions!
This win did not come easily, however. There was a large crowd (by RM
of Brokenhead standards, at least) in the Council room by the time the
meeting began, and we soon discovered that most were there because of us!
When our turn on the agenda arrived, Mark delivered our brief presentation
and then the floor was opened to anyone who wished to voice support or
opposition. We had been warned earlier that one particular individual was
likely to show up in opposition, and he was indeed there. He had complaint
after complaint after complaint, but it soon became apparent that he had
more concerns about the process than about us. The discussion sometimes
grew a bit more heated than it probably should have, but the Reeve managed
to maintain order and actually dismissed most of the man's objections himself.
Another person in attendance who was there on a separate matter decided
to join the fray and voiced her concerns. Trust seemed to be her major
issue. "I hear you promising to do this and that," she basically said,
"but how do we know you'll do what you say?" This, of course, is not a
legitimate point of opposition. We had in fact given neither Council nor
anyone else in the room any reason to mistrust us. It was quickly apparent
that her arguments would have no impact on council.
Not much else was heard from the rest of the people in the Council room
except for occasional questions that were mostly related to language in
the notice that had been mailed to our nearest neighbours. In had been
worded in such a way that it raised concerns (quite unintentionally, we
believe) about what we were actually planning to do with our land. These
concerns were quickly addressed by simple clarifications from us.
One Councillor had a couple of minor concerns that were easily dealt
with by the Reeve and the RM's Development Officer, who also attended the
After the open session had been concluded, the Reeve asked Council whether
they wished to vote immediately or set the matter aside for further consideration
until the next Council meeting. It was quickly decided that there was no
reason to delay the vote, and so it was called immediately. The motion
to approve our Conditional Use application was passed unanimously! It could
not have been a better outcome for us, but there were certainly many tense
moments leading up to this victory.
Council quickly moved on to the next agenda item and all those who had
attended because of us began to disperse. We had the pleasure (I choose
that word intentionally and honestly) to speak afterwards with two immediate
neighbours as well as the gentleman who voiced the strongest opposition.
All expressed their wish that we not take anything that had been said personally.
They simply had questions concerning the process more than anything else,
and they were quick to reassure us that they had nothing against who we
were or what we were doing. It was great to have the opportunity to talk
with them in this way. This was the first time that Mark and I had met
two of them, and so they now have faces to associate with the leadership
of our group. We gave each of them business cards so that they can contact
us directly should they have any further questions or concerns.
We arrived at the meeting ready to address every reasonable objection
that we could think of. We had a carefully prepared presentation backed
by a binder containing 70 pages of support documents including newspaper
articles, land photos, laws and regulations, correspondence and Web pages.
We also had the petition signed by 25 of our members (our thanks go to
the signers) and seven letters of support (our thanks go to the letter
writers). The opposition that was voiced turned out to be largely irrelevant
to the matter before Council, and so this material was never used. Assembling
it did serve to bolster our confidence going into the hearing, however,
and so it was far from wasted effort.
With this hearing now behind us, yet another major hurdle has been overcome
in our quest to establish Naturist Legacy Park as a permanent refuge for
social nudism! We are grateful to the RM of Brokenhead's Reeve, Council,
Planning Board, and Development Officer for the fair treatment and courtesy
that they have extended to us.
Anyone who has questions or comments about the Conditional Use Order
that has now been granted can contact us....
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