Opponents of Crane Lake development to gather for meeting
The fight against a proposed oil development near Crane Lake continues, with the Crane Lake Advisory and Stewardship Society (CLASS) organizing a meeting to collect names and signatures from people opposing the project.
Birchwood Resources, an oil and gas company based out of Calgary, has submitted an application to Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (ESRD) to proceed with plans to build a SAGD (steam-assisted gravity drainage) oil plant about 300 metres from Crane Lake.
José Lapointe, CLASS president, said the society has been waiting for the company’s progress in this direction to make its own next move. “Everyone’s been waiting anxiously for this application to come through; now we’re gung-ho, we’re going to do what we can to stop this development.”
CLASS has 500 signatures of people opposed to the project on a Save the Lake petition on Facebook, while 100 other people have signed a paper document to oppose the project, she said.
On Jan. 27, at 7 p.m., people are invited to gather at Riverhurst Hall to organize further opposition and register their discontent with this plan. The MD of Bonnyville councillor representing the area has been invited to attend, as well as a representative from ESRD.
ESRD spokesperson Jessica Potter confirmed that Birchwood has made its submission to the department and the review process will begin shortly. Part of ESRD’s approvals process requires Birchwood to notify and consult with the public on its plans, and for the project to undergo a technical review under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act.
Any member of the public directly affected by an application can submit a written statement to state their concerns and can appeal a decision to issue an approval, she said.
According to information from Birchwood, the company “has designed an operation that reduces environmental impacts, and has taken additional steps to design the most efficient facility possible, including significant attention to noise and odor concerns, brackish makeup water, high produced water recycle and ground water protection.” Birchwood’s application for the project includes public consultation, numerous environmental studies, a pro-active program to monitor and mitigate any environmental impacts, and conservation and reclamation plans.
Lapointe said it was important for the many people affected to band together to state their concerns. “We want to unify and have a voice,” she said, adding she hoped the MD of Bonnyville council also saw the need to have a voice. The MD had already accepted a land use plan that affected the lake area, and “it makes no sense at all” that a multi-million dollar project can supersede those plans, she said.
“I think it concerns us all. It’s our Lakeland,” she said, adding of the meeting, “It’s for us to have a voice and it’s to protect the future generations of pristine lakes we have in our area.”
In order to post comments on our web site, you must validate your email address. An email was sent to you when you registered that included an activation link. If you have not yet done so, please click on the link to activate your account.
If you did not receive your activation email, please click here to have it resent.