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New land issues group formed

Developments in the Twin Butte area had concerned ranchers and farmers in the community hall last Thursday ready to form a new land issues group.

Some 40 local landowners turned up to the meeting, which was held in response to the potential cumulative effects of the growing oil and gas, uranium and wind energy industries in the area.

“If a community sits back then they will get whatever projects that come into the community,” meeting organizer Larry Frith told the group.

Frith said that in the last couple of years there had been some seven seismic surveys, a couple of meteorological towers erected and prospecting for uranium all in the Twin Butte area. He said that one of the key impacts from all that potential development was likely to be on the local ground water supply.

Besides the potential impacts, Frith also listed off numerous environmental ailments already afflicting the land. He said that there was likely to be mercury contamination on the old Gulf Plant site and that Shell Canada had had an incident some 10 years ago where it contaminated a local aquifer.

Frith said that the new group should look into a long range planning tool to decide what the community should look like in the future. He said that the group should place particular emphasis on water supply, because the area’s eastern slopes were so vital in supplying water to the southern part of the province and Saskatchewan. He also said consideration should be given to the cumulative impacts, which are not taken into consideration by government regulations.

The new group, which will be applying for society status shortly, came up with four main goals on Thursday. Those were to develop long range planning tools, communicate and cooperate with other landowner groups, work with landowners dealing with developments on their property sharing information and to deal with problems arising from existing facilities and old leases already on property.

By Jocelyn Mercer