Drilling grilling, Dissent was the key message heard by Goldenkey Oil Inc. by Katie May, December 6, 2013, Lethbridge Herald
Dissent was the key message a Calgary-based oil company heard during a second public consultation session in Lethbridge Thursday evening. A steady stream of local residents stopped by the Lethbridge Lodge Hotel to share their opinions on a controversial proposed fracking site drilling three wells for oil and gas within city limits – a project Lethbridge City Council has already denounced. Representatives from Goldenkey Oil Inc. held the open house a day after concerned residents packed city hall in protest of the project. David Hill, a consultant for Goldenkey, said the company wasn’t invited to that meeting, but that he’s interested in hearing people’s feedback and answering their questions.
Major concerns he’s heard have revolved around fracking, water usage and protection, and the city’s future expansion. The company has proposed drilling in West Lethbridge, near current homes, and Hill said he’s been talking to the city about this plan for almost two years. “We hear the people, and I feel for those who don’t want this here. Where I guess I’m coming from is a real technical basis for that and what is it that we can do to mitigate that? We’re just pursuing this geological formation that happens to be within the city limits. We would not choose to be in the city limits except that this is where the geological feature happens to be, we think. It may not be there. It’s a high-risk well in terms of whether we’re going to find anything, so we wait to see what happens,” Hill said.
When she seized an opportunity to speak to Hill, former city councillor candidate Rena Woss didn’t mince words. “I just want to say that we don’t want you here. A group of Hells Angels would be more welcome,” she said. Others didn’t go quite that far. Another former councillor candidate, Martin Heavy Head, said he thought the consultation – a follow-up to Goldenkey’s earlier public meeting at the end of October – was a step in the right direction but that it glossed over potentially negative effects the project could have on personal and environmental health. “It feels like a very positive and Goldenkey-friendly presentation, but there’s no possible or likely downsides being presented.”
He said he’s concerned about the company’s proposed use of University Drive as a dangerous goods route and about fracking risks such as earthquakes. “I’d like to see the municipality stonewall this as much as possible and make it so it’s not equitable for the company to do it,” he said. “I’d like to see this project not happen, just because there is an overwhelming negative impact felt throughout people who live by these wells (in other areas) who have experienced this, who live with this, who know this.” [Emphasis added]