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Special Areas requests for water

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Jul 1, 2005 | 13:05 61 What is the definition of insanity?... doing the same things over and expecting a different result? We are chock full of cheap grain in the prairies and cattle neither of which are providing a viable return to producers. So now we want to spend millions of dollars encouraging more of the same?
I think knowing what crops could be grown and which there would be viable markets for would be the most important decisions to make before embarking on a project of this scale. To do otherwise would certainly be a gamble worthy of Las Vegas. Reply With Quote
Jul 1, 2005 | 15:16 62 grassfarmer if you were the politicians who are being lobbied for assistance with this project what would you tell these folks ?
Tell them to relocate elsewhere so they will have an opportunity to make a living, and their kids can grow up in communities that offer opportunities for employment ? Reply With Quote
Jul 1, 2005 | 15:58 63 YOU GO EM!!!!Sounds like all Cakadu and Grassfarmer want to do is sit in the coffee shop and say `That`ll never work!`Good thing there`s people out there with more ambition than that!! I think they`re called ALBERTANS!! Reply With Quote
Jul 1, 2005 | 18:43 64 Cropduster, no one is saying it won't work. Have you been to one of the sessions or seen the information you are given to base your answers to the survey they hand out to you? The information is sketchy at best. If they don't know the answers to some of the more basic questions, then how in the world can we say yes to the project? There are far more questions than answers for the project and emrald has alluded to one very important point with respect to politicians in her last post.

It's too bad that the important points are not being addressed or being glossed over. Sure we can all look at it with rose colored glasses and say it will work. There are, however, many examples of where this hasn't worked and the Colorado river comes to mind. Ask the people in Arizona how they feel about things. The Red Deer River is being asked to do more and more. Do we allocate it to the point where it will become useless to all? 50% of the water has to hit the Saskatchewan border and go beyond. It is great to say the project will work this year. There is money aplenty in the government coffers, the water is flowing everywhere it shouldn't and the social problems exist out there as they do everywhere. Communities with water are dying every day - what is being done to help them?

Tell me, are you waiting for the water or are you someone who will not be affected by the inter-basin transfer either by receiving the water or by having it allocated out of your river?

Many people are voicing their concerns over the project and the viability of it and some of these people have been in the conservation business for 25 or 30 years.

Can anyone give us an idea of what all of this increased drilling activity is going to do the groundwater supplies? All of these various things are happening with more and more speed, with no idea of the outcome because they haven't been done in unison before. These resources are not for us to use up - we are just borrowing them and god forbid, leaving them a little better than we found them. Reply With Quote
Jul 1, 2005 | 18:45 65 cropduster, I don't pretend to know answers for this issue but it does concern me when any part of this province is facing a bleak future due to a lack of water.
Water diversion initiatives have helped other areas of the province over time, and if diverting water to east central AB will help to ensure viability of rural communities then it has got to be given serious consideration.
The government will not enter into any planning for this without ensuring the proposal is sound environmentally and will not negatively affect other Albertans.
I know a significant number of the municipal politicians in the eastern portion of the province and the lack of water has been a growing concern. All a person has to do is drive through some of the towns and villages in that part of the province and see the way they are dying out. There is nothing to keep the younger generation there. I will always support a strong rural Alberta. Reply With Quote
Jul 1, 2005 | 19:00 66 one point that has not been made here is the fact that water in any river does not belong to those who live closest to it, it belongs to all Albertans.
That is likely why an EIA will be ordered for this proposal, so that the interests of all Albertans will be protected if the project is approved.
If it does go to an NRCB or EUB or joint hearing all citizens who claim that the project will have a negative affect on them will have the opportunity to seek intervenor status. That is where many questions about the project will be answered and intervenors will have the opportunity to give evidence as to the damage the project can do.
I would be surprised to see this process evolve in any less than five years. Reply With Quote
Jul 1, 2005 | 22:11 67 Emrald1, As Cakadu says communities with water are dying just now as well - no where more than eastern Saskatchewan. I'm not saying irrigation can't work, I'm saying lack of water isn't the cause of all the problems in Eastern Alberta. Supplying water won't fix them either.

Cropduster that was priceless from you - saying all I want to do is "sit in the coffee shop and say `That`ll never work!`" That seems to be your role here on Agriville - I've yet to see you post an original idea or start a thought provoking thread. Reply With Quote
Jul 1, 2005 | 22:43 68 You have hit on an important point, emrald. From a watershed perspective, there are many stakeholders who depend on that river in one way or another. Using a watershed approach, whatever happens to the water should be based on what is best for all users within the watershed.

We only have one chance to do many things - this being one of them - and we need to ensure that we base the decision on the best information available. When we undertake projects and development such as this, it is pretty much irreparable, or not without great cost should something else need to be done.

Remember that there are proposals for more development around Gleniffer Lake, Spruce View/*****on, Springbank etc. due to the way the county is seeing future development. Those places will need water too.

If you take a serious look at the rural decline in all areas of the province, special areas' loss of people etc. goes far deeper than just a lack of water.

I would encourage everyone to go and have a look at the plans, information etc. and make an informed choice about whether this is a good thing or not, as all Albertans will be affected by it. At a projected cost (based on 2004 dollars) of 192.8 million (without any price on land costs) and and estimated completion time of 6 to 7 years, it will affect all Albertans for a number of years.

I started the thread with encouraging people to have a look or take in one of the meetings. Without getting informed, how can one make a decision on whether or not it is a good plan? Reply With Quote
Jul 1, 2005 | 23:49 69 grassfarmer, it may be true that some rural areas are dying out as you say but look at the influx of new residents and businesses to others.
MD of Rockyview; Parkland County; Leduc County; Red Deer County etc. they are all rural municipalities although in some cases they are getting urbanized. As for developments such as Glenifer Lake requiring water, do we put recreational living ahead of food production ?

I hope that concerned citizens on both sides of the issue do as Linda says and become informed. It will be one that I will follow with interest.

As far as comparing Alberta to Saskatchewan goes, it is quite a stretch to do so, when Alberta's economy is going crazy at this point in time, and people are coming from all other provinces to find employment in Alberta, its hardly a fair comparison. Reply With Quote
Jul 2, 2005 | 04:48 70 Well Linda, you raise a valid point by suggesting we become better informed on this subject and get out and find out all the facts.
I will admit I am not up on the whole thing as I envisioned a huge dam supplying a series of wet lands and a pipeline. That would make a lot of sense in my opinion.
Still I like this proposal because I have seen how darned dry it can be out there and have an inkling of just how much activity is on the way for that area. Example: Hanna is building a new trailerpark with forty lots in anticipation of a large gas plant being built this year.
The concern that we might lose some habitat for wildlife is sort of a non starter? Just consider how much more habitat might be created by a series of wetlands? I believe these areas are in the major flyway for migratory birds? And also consider how much habitat is being swept away every year by the cities of Red Deer, Calgary, Edmonton and you will see a series of wetlands can't really compare?
You say you have always supported moving some developement away from the corrider? How can that happen if the areas don't have any water?
If an area supplies the jobs, the people will come? Look at Fort Mac? It is about as desolute as can be and yet it is rocking and rolling like nowhere else in Alberta! Perhaps we need to look at the special areas as more than a poor agricultural area? Think industry and commerce...and yes with water and wetlands think of recreation! If no one wants to pay for food then why not think about the opportunities for recreation? People will complain like hell if hamburger or milk go up a couple of cents, but have no problem paying $30 a night to park their motorhome or spend $45 to play 18 holes? Tourism is becoming a big deal. Reply With Quote
Jul 2, 2005 | 06:53 71 Another area cowman is Grande Cache. It is in pristine mountain wilderness, when the mine shut down it almost turned into a ghost town and now its booming again. Not only is in a recreation area but highways had to be built to get there. Reply With Quote
Jul 2, 2005 | 12:50 72 Emrald, I don't put recreational development ahead of food production, nor would I necessarily put oil and gas production ahead of it. I'm beginning to believe more and more in the fact that we are missing the boat if we think that the only way to get value out of a recreational area is to develop it.

Cowman, not all make work projects succeed and we have to be careful how make work projects evolve. I also wouldn't necessarily be quite so blase about loosing wildlife habitat, particularly if it is a fairly sensitive habitat or a major artery. The thing is we don't know because they haven't specified what any of it will be. The EIA that will hopefully be forthcoming should tell us more. If, for example, the habitat that is destroyed primarily affects the piping plover, then can you still say it is a non-starter?

Become as informed as you can, ask questions - look for answers that give you what you need in order to make a decision. Reply With Quote
Jul 2, 2005 | 13:22 73 The EIA will deal with the impact of the proposed project on the environment, Linda, but it will be up to those opposing the project to bring forward conclusive evidence of what they perceive to be negative impact on enviromnent, wildlife, people and the economy.
If this project goes to a hearing intervenors will need to have detailed, sophisticated submissions. Reply With Quote
Jul 2, 2005 | 15:54 74 Sorry if I touched on the truth grassfarmer!Was born and raised in the Special Areas and have flown over fields here for thirty years..........and you????????My comments are meant to get you to go to a higher hill or even an airplane seat to BROADEN your horizon!!!!!! Reply With Quote
Jul 2, 2005 | 16:25 75 Cropduster, it would then be reasonably safe to say that your objectivity is somewhat clouded in terms of whether this is a project that should go ahead or not. It also stands to reason that questions about the project could be construed to the negative, which for me is not the case.

There must be a reason that folks such as yourself stay in the area and it has nothing to do with water or a lack thereof.

I've said many times on this site -- just because we can, doesn't mean we should. It doesn't mean we shouldn't either - just give me logical, factual information on which to base my decision, not emotion. I have always been that way and don't see it changing any time soon. (Okay, I made one decision based on emotion and after 16 years, I think it has served me very well.)

I've also found it important to understand the other person's viewpoint - bearing in mind that understanding does not mean agreement. I understand why you would want water. Even in my own immediate neighborhood we are sitting on the most productive water around - the neighbors all around us had to drill many times in order to get enough water to even reasonably run their homes with. That doesn't mean that we don't use the water wisely and try to conserve it. Just because it has been here, doesn't mean it always will be. Reply With Quote
Jul 2, 2005 | 17:23 76 Actually Linda I have no clue what a piping plover is... and frankly I don't really care! But then I have some real anti environmental beliefs...like they should completely wipe out the wolves,cougars and grizzly bears!
However I fail to see what concern it is of anyone basically living above the proposed "water diversion scheme"? The water goes down the river and who cares where? We only have to deliver 50% to Saskatchewan so why not use our 50% for the population of Alberta? Maybe I am an insensitive lout or something, but why not use it to create some wealth and prosperity for the people in eastern Alberta?
I do know there are a lot of good solid people that live out in the "special areas" and I sure would hate to see that region crash! They are tough and independent and they sure don't buy into all this Liberal drivel that is ruining our country! I'd sure rather help them out than the eastern bums we are forced to support! Reply With Quote
Jul 2, 2005 | 19:33 77 Okay cowman, I'm not even going to touch your comments on environmentalism.

The water in a watershed is for all stakeholders within that watershed, not just for those above or below a certain point. Recharge of underground water can sometimes occur 100's of miles away so you could affect someone and not even know it because they are downstream from you.

I don't have a problem doing it if it is warranted. No one has said anything about good or bad people and/or deserving/non-deserving people. If we are not careful, it won't take long until the 50% that we do have is over allocated and then what happens?

It is not just this one project, as I've mentioned before, there are several others that are in the works as well, each with their own demands on the river. One of the piping projects should be set to go.

Also, please bear in mind that there was a report done several years ago that stated that there would be no new development south of Ponoka after about 2020 because there wouldn't be the water to support it. Could that be why we are "rushing" to do all of this development - in order to beat the dealine? Reply With Quote
Jul 2, 2005 | 20:30 78 I think that the proponents of the project need to provide the opportunity for interested ( vs opposed) folks to tour the area and see what water can do, and the drawabacks caused by the lack of it.

Many special interest groups will be heard before this project goes too far ahead. The province may nix it before it gets to the EIA stage, who knows ?

I agree with cowman on many aspects. When the land was cleared and oil and gas wells drilled in this area, people were all up in arms because they felt the big game would all leave, die or heaven knows what. There are so many deer, moose and elk around here that they are a problem, so the fact that their habitat was invaded by industry hasn't caused any problems at all.

I drive down Highway 16 almost daily and see the raping and pillaging done by the coal extraction around Wabumun, it is an eyesore and likely has caused untold environmental damage, that will never be reclaimed, and yet there never seems to be a peep made by environmentalists. Reply With Quote
Jul 2, 2005 | 21:15 79 Cakadu......read the report/engineer`s study.We`re trying to be as all encompassing/professional as possible. Reply With Quote
Jul 2, 2005 | 22:47 80 Actually, emrald, I think that is the one area that was lacking on the part of the organizers of the SAWSP meetings. They didn't have any verbal presentations, likely to keep a lid on any grandstanders, which in my opinion, was a drawback. People should never be afraid of the opposed or the naysayers because it is from all ideas that the best plans are made. Quite often when people tell you what they don't want, they are actually telling you want they want, so you are cutting off what could be valuable input.

The odd time, you even make converts of the naysayers, so it is never a lost opportunity. There is greater buy-in if people feel that they been a part of something, they have been allowed to state their piece and their ideas looked at. To me, there is merit in hearing the opposition. Again, I don't have to agree with them, just understand their viewpoint. "Seek first to understand, then be understood."

Cropduster, that is what I am trying to do with the full report that was released on this diversion project. I am trying to understand so I can make an informed decision. Reply With Quote
Jul 2, 2005 | 23:37 81 Unfortunately it sometimes happens that those who do not agree with proposals such as this have a way of spinning things and creating angst.
Not everyone is willing as you are to become informed, and would choose only to believe half truths.
I can't begin to count the number of times I have heard someone say ' I heard from somebody that such and such is going to happen', maybe its my nosy nature but if I hear a rumor about something or some project that is proposed in my community, I go to the source and get my facts straight . Reply With Quote