Vermillion map

Residents of the County of Vermillion, Alta., spoke out against a propose oil transfer station in their rural community. (Google Maps)

Residents of the County of Vermilion River, Alta. have stopped an energy company from building an oil transfer station in the rural area.. 

Mike Schmidt wanted to fulfill a dream of raising his kids in the country, in particular his parents property in Vermilion where he grew up.

But Schmidt’s dream’s were in jeopardy when he found out what will be built not far from his property.

"Basically the day I was going to order the house to move there, I found out that this would be changed to an industrial property and that I wouldn't want to live beside that," he said.

Altex Energy, a company that delivers crude oil products using rail, wanted to build an oil transfer station 100-metres away from Schmidt’s property.

The station would be where trucks unload bitumen to rail lines and would be functioning 24 hours a day.

The project would have brought a $50- 70 million investment and the company promised thorough environmental and emergency planning with the addition of at least 40 jobs. 

But Schmidt thought the plans were still too risky.

"We felt a little bit like a David and Goliath situation there for quite awhile…,” he said. "Having 250-thousand trucks converge on the road right beside us definitely isn't worth that money."

About 60 other people who live in the area agreed and have signed a petition against the project. 

“We live here, we work here, the oil is here,” said Deputy Reeve Ed Parke. “It should be better for us, but it’s not.”

Parke said he heard the many concerns loud and clear at the first open house on Dec. 9 and then the public hearing on Jan. 7.

He was part of the council that vote to ultimately reject the project on Jan. 21.

"It was a difficult decision,” he said. “But I think that in forty years I would rather have people living here in the county, rather than having it be empty and only oil wells."