March 30, 2022 By Lacie Nairn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Drumheller Mail
Kneehill County council approved revisions to its Drone and Location Filming policies during the regular Tuesday, February 8 council meeting, along with revisions to its Special Events policy during the regular Tuesday, March 8 council meeting.
There has been increased interest in filming, drone use, and hosting special events such as weddings on public Kneehill County lands, and these revisions have been made to better align with other, adjacent municipalities.
“In recent years we have seen an increase in unauthorized drone use at Kneehill County park sites and, as well, increase in requests for permission to fly drones over Kneehill County lands for filming and photography,” manager of Ag Services and Parks Shelby Sherwick shared during the January 18 Committee of the Whole meeting.
Drone use requires registration and licensing through Transport Canada, insurance confirmation, and flight plan approvals, along with permitting through Kneehill County.
Amending the policy allows Kneehill County to install signage at various county-owned sites, such as Horseshoe Canyon, informing visitors of the permitting requirements and appropriate contact information.
Revisions to the Location Filming policy will reduce the amount of notice required for filming in the area and would also implement a damage deposit for filming on public sites, including Horseshoe Canyon. This change also “piggybacks” onto the proposed changes on the Special Events policy, which were brought forward for consideration at the February 15 Committee of the Whole meeting.
For productions and events with between 51 and 150 people it was recommended to council a $2,500 damage deposit be required, and for productions and events over 150 require a $5,000 deposit.
“We wanted to make it significant enough it’s not convenient for them to say `Oh, the county will clean it up,”’ said Planning and Development manager Barb Hazelton.
Although productions and events are usually “very good” about cleaning up, Ms. Hazelton noted the county has seen some issues in the past.
Council approved the revisions to the three policies and noted amendments to include the damage deposit fees to the Master Rates bylaw will be brought before council at a later date.