By Jasmine Franklin
Landowners in Ponoka County recently got an education of the best kind — their property rights.
Held at the Ponoka Legion, Calumet Synergy Group helped to provide resources for 48 landowners on issues of risk and agreement management when oil or gas companies approach them about development on their land.
“The premise of the seminar was to engage and educate landowners so when an organization approaches them, they will understand the process, risk of impact and can build a strategy,” said Graham Gilchrist, assistant farmer’s advocate. “Producers know their cows and crops and the risk of their land. But when someone else like an oil or gas company comes around with a new use for their land other than the traditional use, farmers need a plan.”
Gilchrist said it’s difficult to come to a win/win situation with companies and that it’s the responsibility of the landowner to figure out what they want out of an agreement.
“Be well educated, be prepared and don’t be rushed,” said Warren Bloomquist, Calumet Synergy Group. “Seek advice from anywhere you can, there are a lot of resources.”
Two schools of thought were mentioned by Gilchrist. One says the best option is to make a private negotiation with the company where parties can put everything on the table and make a unique agreement that benefits both sides.
However, if an agreement cannot be reached, the company requesting development on the land can go to a regulatory board that would allow a right of entry order, forcing the company straight into a process that will determine everything for the landowner.
Basically, the most important step for landowners is to do their homework and have a plan before the knock on the door arrives.
For advice or more information, the farmer’s advocates can be reached at (403) 310 – FARM (3276).