Wheatland County will bring forward a resolution to ensure contracts between landowners and oil and gas companies negotiated in good faith are honoured and landowners remain whole to the 2022 Provincial Agriculture Services Board (ASB) conference, and the Central Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) District 2 for consideration at the spring convention in March.
The discussion around the resolution first began during a Wheatland County ASB meeting in November 2021, and council was asked to approve the resolution for the Provincial ASB conference during the regular Tuesday, January 11 council meeting.
“Through discussions with other Reeves, I have heard this is an issue in other areas,” Wheatland County Reeve Amber Link said during the January meeting. She added by sending the resolution forward to District 2 for consideration would help “get a good sense,” within the district, whether this issue goes beyond Wheatland County’s borders.
Although contracts through individual landowners and oil and gas companies are private and do not directly involve the county, once these sites enter expropriation there can be impacts to ag producers, which is one of Wheatland County’s primary industries.
“Farmers are our vast people in this county; we farm from post to post, as the saying goes,” said Division 6 Councillor Glenn Koester, noting he supported the resolution.
Wheatland County council unanimously passed a motion to forward the resolution to both the 2022 Provincial ASB Conference, held January 25 to 27, and the Central RMA District 2 for endorsement at the upcoming March convention.
Following the meeting, Reeve Link approached Kneehill County Reeve Jerry Wittstock to ask whether the adjacent county would support the resolution as a seconder.
Due to an approaching deadline to submit the resolution, Reeve Wittstock brought the request to the Tuesday, January 18 Kneehill County Committee of the Whole meeting. He asked the committee to indicate whether they would support bringing the resolution for consideration at a future council meeting; this would allow Kneehill County to provide an interim response so Wheatland County could find another seconder if necessary ahead of the deadline.
“There are some big oil and gas companies that are doing this to us; even though they pay their taxes, they refuse to honour contracts with landowners,” Reeve Wittstock stated during the meeting, adding, “If we brought this forward two years ago I don’t think it would have gone far.”
Kneehill County Committee of the Whole unanimously agreed they would recommend council to second Wheatland County’s resolution.