Wildrose Alliance Party Leader Danielle Smith will be grilled on her party’s rural policy at an upcoming landowner group’s meeting.
“Our main goal is to present rural policy questions to the leader of the Wildrose Alliance,” said Don Bester, president of the Pine Lake Surface Rights Action Group, which is hosting the Wednesday, April 14, meeting in Trochu. The topic is “The Development of Rural Policy”.
“If there is a potential chance they get into Opposition or form a government, the Pine Lake group would like to have some of their concerns on rural policies addressed,” said Bester.
Many landowners believe their rights have been constantly eroded by legislative changes over the last few years, he said.
There is also frustration that the one-time $500-per-acre entry fee that oil and gas companies pay landowners in compensation for access roads and wellsites built on their property has not changed since the 1980s.
Smith, who was elected leader of the fledgling party in October 2009, was a former director of the Alberta Property Rights Initiative and the Canadian Property Rights Research Institute.
Keith Wilson, an Edmonton-based lawyer who specializes in agricultural law and surface rights issues, is also scheduled to speak at the event. He will update landowners on compensation rights and the impacts of recent court cases and provincial legislation.
Wilson won a precedent-setting case before the Alberta Court of Appeal that improved loss-of-use payments for farmers.
Bester is expecting a large crowd of up to 500 at the meeting. The Pine Lake group has about 1,200 members.
The event takes pace at Trochu Community Hall. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the event begins at 7:30 p.m. The cost is $5 for members, $10 for non-members and $100 for industry and regulators. For information go to www.albertasurfacerights.com.