Skip to content

LICA meeting attracts huge crowd

Over 150 people packed into the St.
Minister of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development Diana McQueen (right), along with local PC MLA Genia Leskiw, responds to questions from the public during
Minister of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development Diana McQueen (right), along with local PC MLA Genia Leskiw, responds to questions from the public during LICA’s annual general meeting on April 25 at the St. Louis Parish Hall. The meeting attracted over 150 people to the hall.

Over 150 people packed into the St. Louis Parish Hall last Thursday for the Lakeland Industry and Community Association (LICA) annual general meeting and a chance to hear Minister of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (ESRD) Diana McQueen speak.

McQueen, introduced by local PC MLA Genia Leskiw, spoke about environmental monitoring and last year's integration of the province's ministries responsible for environmental sustainability and economic development into what is now known as Alberta ESRD.

She also spoke about the importance of land use management and planning, pointing to the completion of the Lower Athabasca Regional Plan – part of province's Land-use Framework – as the first step in regional planning for Alberta. She said the government hopes to have all seven regional plans completed by 2016.

“We're always working to continue to grow our resource development,” said McQueen. “But with certainty for conservation, recreation, and community growth.”

The floor was also opened up for questions, with several posed in regards to water quality – both in rivers and lakes, as well as in underground sources. McQueen said the “water conversation” in Alberta is ongoing and she is looking forward to developing policies based on feedback the government is receiving.

When questioned whether the government would consider retracting water licenses from industry or farming operations using fresh water, she said it would respect current license holders, however, the province might reconsider the number of licenses it issues in the future.

A number of questions also came up regarding the proposed Birchwood project next to Crane Lake.

When asked whether industry is able to circumvent land-use plans set out by municipal governments and go directly to the province for project approval, McQueen responded by noting that surface rights belong to the land owner residing within a municipality, while sub-surface rights belong to all Albertans and therefore the province deals directly with sub-surface resource extraction projects, such as Birchwood's Sage project, rather than the company having to apply to have to land upon which the project will be built rezoned for industrial use.

LICA's executive manager Charmaine Code said the entire evening was a huge success.

“We're very pleased,” said Code. “It's fantastic to see that many people take time out of their busy schedules to come out and get involved and maybe even learn something new.”

She said McQueen did a great job, speaking about issues that are timely and of concern to Lakeland residents.

Later in the evening, during the AGM portion of the event, LICA representatives held elections, with chair Delano Toley, Robert Deresh and Annette Ozirny all re-elected to the board.

LICA's board is made up of five community representatives, three industry reps, two government reps and two aboriginal and Métis reps.

The association also used the evening as an opportunity to officially release its Landowner's Handbook on Resource Development.

“We've been working on it for over a year,” said Code. “It contains information compiled from research, as well as input and feedback from industry, government and the public on surface rights, minerals, drilling, pipelines and many other areas.”

The handbook is available at the LICA office or through the website

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks