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Retired farmer not happy about fracking operation 260 meters away from his house

A map showing the proposed fracking operation. The red rectangle is the wellpad, Smith's house is circled.

A retired sheep farmer in B.C. 's Peace region says fracking activity is getting too close for comfort.

Encana is planning to drill for natural gas across the road from Wayne Smith's property- just 260 meters upwind of his house.

This means the company will be injecting high pressure fluids into the bedrock that Smith's property sits on.
"Who would wanna buy this place if we eventually ever decided to sell it when it's up against the fence of an industrial area?" says Smith. "We've lived here for over thirty years and that isn't why we moved here."

Smith is also worried about light, noise and traffic related to the huge amount of water needed to frack for gas. 

"There'd be trucks running back, big trucks running back and forward 24 hours a day and there are a lot of them. It takes a lot of fluid and a lot of sand to frack these wells."

Smith met with Encana and has been told the company will resurvey the land and possibly move.

But, Smith says, anywhere they go on the property, will be too close.

Encana says it will continue to work with local residents to minimize its impact on them.

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Few answers on why Haida Gwaii's volunteer undertaker has been told to stop

Few answers are coming as to why a man who helps people on Haida Gwaii deal with death has been asked to stop.

For 24 years, George Westwood has been volunteering to help people on Haida Gwaii deal with the business of death. That means everything from explaining the bureaucratic paperwork and arranging for the casket to be built, to meeting with the gravediggers and helping with the funeral service.

He does it because there are no commercial services on Haida Gwaii, and he feels it is important to provide an experienced touch for people who need it. He does not charge for his time.

However, a complaint filed with Consumer Protection B.C. forced him to stop.

Complaint filed by commercial funeral industry

Consumer Protection B.C. has confirmed the investigation into Westwood began in 2012. 

Village of Queen Charlotte mayor Greg Martin says that the organization told him the complaint was filed by a commercial enterprise.

However, since there is no commercial industry on Haida Gwaii, it is unclear about why the complaint was made.

Martin believes it was a quest for more profits.

"I think they're hoping for an export business. Mainland funeral providers have received some of the business from Haida Gwaii and I think they're hoping to maintain their monopoly."

Requests to speak with the B.C. Funeral Association were denied, but in a written statement executive director Lori Cascaden says the organization will meet with the Ministry of Justice about the issue.

No answers from ministry

Westwood's case falls under the Ministry of Justice. CBC has requested multiple interviews with Minister Suzanne Anton, but have been told she is "unavailable."

She did provide a written statement saying, "At my request, Ministry staff have been asked to review options with Consumer Protection B.C. and have been in touch with the local government and B.C. Funeral Association."

Meetings between ministry staff and the association are to be held next week.

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Advanced Education Minister says it would be "not appropriate" to get involved in UNBC strike

With faculty at UNBC on strike and cuts coming to the College of New Caledonia, Russell Bowers speaks to Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson about funding for post-secondary in B.C. and whether he will be trying to resolve the job dispute at UNBC.