Surface lease rights topic for CMAG session

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DIDSBURY – There were around 20 people on hand at Mountain View Community Hall on Feb. 21 to hear from a number of speakers on topics dealing mainly with surface lease rights.

The information session was put on by the Central Mountainview Advisory Group (CMAG).

Paula Hall, facilitator and administrator with CMAG, said the session went well with plenty of interesting information for those in attendance.

CMAG is a synergy group consisting of landowners, industry, regulators and other shareholders.

“We have regular meetings every other month and we try to get topics and speakers that are of interest to the group,” Hall said.

“This particular event was about surface lease rights. Some people had some questions about which organizations specifically were involved and their roles were when they’re experiencing things like non-payment.”

Speaking at the event were representatives of the Farmers’ Advocate Office, Alberta Surface Rights Board and Alberta Energy Regulator.

In addition, there were displays from those organizations and others.

Hall said although the information was helpful, she wished there was greater community participation.

“I think that’s a symptom of the lower activity happening in the area,” she said. “Of course, when things are busy and there are lots of projects, people are very interested and come to the table.

“CMAG really feels like this is the time when the stronger relationships can form so that you get to know your neighbour and the industries in your backyard.”

Hall said the landowners that do come want those relations and are really active and vibrant.

“It would have been great to see more community participation as always,” she said. “We are hoping in the future we can get more people to come out and take part especially as the group expands beyond oil and gas only.

“We have invited AltaLink to the table before and they have come. We’re expanding into more community areas. We have a scholarship program that CMAG is now doing.”

Hall said there were some very good discussions taking place at the table during the session.

“The presenters they really bring forth how it really works and what their roles are,” she said. “I think there are some misconceptions out there about how it works, and who gets paid, and who’s responsible for what in the process.

“That was our hope today that it would clarify a little bit of that and I think we succeeded.”

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Craig Lindsay

Craig Lindsay is a reporter with the Mountain View Gazette who joined the newspaper in 2016. He covers news, sports and community events in Didsbury, Carstairs and Cremona. He is a photographer and columnist as well.