Smith, McIver attend Wheatland surface rights group AGM | DrumhellerMail
Last updateTue, 21 May 2024 12am

Smith, McIver attend Wheatland surface rights group AGM

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Premier Danielle Smith and Minister of Municipal Affairs Ric McIver were in Standard on Tuesday, March 5 as guests to the Wheatland and Area Surface Rights Society (WAASRS).
The WAASRS held their AGM at the Standard Hall. Smith spoke at the event. About 250 came out for the meeting.
Chair of the WAASRS Spencer Hilton tells the Mail, says there has been a surface rights group since the early 1990s, but in the last few years they re-formed the Society.
“We were working on certain problems back in that time with oil and gas development, but that came to a very positive conclusion, so we didn’t see the need to be active and became dormant for a while,” he said. “We just got going again in the last four and half years because of the issues we have been having with companies in the area that took over from EnCana and wanted to play the game differently.”
He said he wanted to bring these issues to light white Premier and Minster McIver.
He explains they were glad that McIver was there to listen to their issues with the Land and Property Rights Tribunal, formerly the Surface Rights Board.
“That board falls under his ministry so that is why it was important that he was able to attend,” said Hilton.
He says the WAASRS’ mandate is around oil and gas, and while he appreciates the issues that farms are having with renewable energy developments, it is not in its purview.
hat is being developed in the county is natural gas.”
The group has been successful in the past in fostering positive relationships with area developers while lobbying for what is in the best interests of the landowners and the province in general. This includes negotiation lease placement a spacing as well as baseline water testing.
“Because we were able to sit down with them in good faith in a round table discussion we came up with a plan that satisfied 99 per cent of all land owners in the area and we moved forward for the betterment of the province in general and people that need to heat their houses,” said Hilton.
Hilton says the group felt heard by Premier Smith.
“I think that kudos to Premier Smith. She comes from a background of landowner rights. Before she was in politics she she was involved with that issue and I think she really has an understanding and some clarity around these kinds of things,” he said.
“Now the most important thing is the follow up communications with them.”

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