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 meeting.
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....
SOURCE: This article (slightly abridged) was published in both the members and non-members editions of the March 9, 2011 Naturist Legacy News Update. I am the author. Check out the 2011 Photo Galleries to see what was accomplished during this ambitious year of construction and development at Naturist Legacy Park.
View the Hearing Notice (PDF) for Naturist Legacy's Conditional Use Order Application (a public record).
Read the public presentation (PDF) made before the RM of Brokenhead Council on March 8, 2011 by the president and treasurer of Naturist Legacy Inc.
Read the RM of Brokenhead Council Minutes for March 8, 2011 (PDF as downloaded on January 1, 2019). See Minute Reference 67-11, 68-11, 69-11.
View the Conditional Use Order (PDF) for Naturist Legacy's land (a public record).