New policy coming on urban drilling, says province

A crowd of 200 residents from the community of Royal Oak and Rocky Ridge gathered in the rain to rally against the drilling of oil in the area.

MLA makes announcement as 200 Rocky Ridge, Royal Oak residents rallied Sunday

The province says it hears the concerns of outspoken residents in the northwest, who are worried about proposed oil drilling so close to their homes.

A crowd of 200 residents from the community of Royal Oak and Rocky Ridge gathered Sunday in the rain to rally against the drilling of oil in the area.

At the event, MLA Sandra Jansen announced to the crowd that the province will begin the process of drafting a new policy on urban areas.

"Knowing that we are going to begin crafting this kind of policy, is going to have an effect on what happens to the Kaiser well here because, obviously, it should and we're going to push to make that happen," said Jansen

No timeline exists for the initiative, although the government's actions could halt the project.

And while natural resources are provincial jurisdiction, Ald. Dale Hodges says he’ll raise the issue at city hall on Monday.

As for residents, they’re pledging that they’ll keep up the fight to prevent any drilling near their homes.

Louisa Gibson’s Royal Oak home looks out onto the site of the proposed well. She said she staunchly opposes the project, mostly over fears of her family's health.

"We are about 50 metres higher than the other homes, so the smell alone is going to increase because we're that much higher," she said.

Residents are also concerned about the safety of drinking water, the lack of an emergency response plan and the impact on house prices.

"The values of the homes are certainly going to be affected over the next couple of years," said resident Nancy Beauchemin.

Kaiser Explorations Ltd. has voluntarily delayed construction of the suburban well as a provincial regulator reviews the project.

Alberta's Energy Resources Conservation Board’s decision is expected in August.

The resource company declined to comment Sunday.


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