Landowner activist will speak at Kneehill County wind farm session

Written by Stu Salkeld

An energy industry expert who specializes in representing landowners has been approved to speak at an upcoming Kneehill County public information session. The decision was made at the April 25 regular meeting of council.

At a previous council meeting Coun. Laura Lee Machell-Cunningham suggested county staff investigate inviting Action Surface Right’s Director Daryl Bennett to speak at an upcoming session hosted by the municipality to better educate property owners about renewable energy projects, including wind and solar farms.

Barb Hazelton, manager of planning and development, stated staff contacted Bennett.

“Council has requested that administration facilitate an information session on renewable energy with the intent of educating landowners considering renewable energy developments on their land,” stated Hazelton in her report to council.

“This has been scheduled for June 12 in Trochu. In planning this event, council has also provided the name Daryl Bennett.

Administration has contacted him to ascertain whether or not he would also be available to attend the event.

“Daryl Bennett is one of the directors for Action Surface Rights. The group’s purpose is to help landowners understand and navigate government and industry processes when dealing with the energy sectors, whether it be oil/gas, transmission lines, or renewable power in the Province of Alberta. They provide resources, support and information for landowners to help them make informed decisions when dealing with energy development.

They also provide guidance on how to deal with regulatory boards and hearings.

“Mr. Bennett has noted that he is not for or against energy sectors and he represents landowners both in opposition to wind and solar as well as those that have signed agreements with energy companies. He specifically helps review contracts to ensure the landowner is represented in the land deal.

“Mr. Bennet also represents landowners during Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) hearings.

At this point, he is unsure whether or not he can be available as he has an expected engagement that he is required to attend and the date is still not confirmed. He will let the county know once the dates of the other engagement have been finalized.”

Coun. Debbie Penner stated Bennett appears to be an knowledgeable speaker who could provide landowners with insight at the session. Coun. Ken King agreed.

“Mr. Bennett does not charge a fee for his participation in an event,” stated Hazleton’s report., “However, administration is recommending that we pay enough to cover his mileage as he would be coming from Taber,” stated Hazelton’s report. Bennet’s trip to Trochu would be over 300 kms according to Google Maps.

“(Kneehill’s) current rate is 61/km. and his round trip would be approximately 620 kms. for a potential cost of $378. As well administration is recommending we pay $150 to $200 to cover the expense for one night in a hotel should he choose. This funding can be accommodated within the Strategic Initiatives line item.”

Councillors unanimously approved adding Bennett to the information session’s agenda and also covering some of Bennett’s travel expenses.

Kneehill County Council’s information session will also feature experts from the Farmers Advocate office.

Stu Salkeld
Local Journalism Initiative reporter
ECA Review

About the author

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld, who has upwards of 28 years of experience in the Alberta community newspaper industry, is now covering councils and other news in the Stettler region and has experience working in the area as well.

He has joined the ECA Review as a Local Journalism Initiative Journalist.

Stu earned his two-year diploma in print journalism from SAIT in Calgary from 1993 to ’95 and was raised in Oyen, Alta., one of the communities within the ECA Review’s coverage area.