Being a new permanent retired resident in the RM of Keys No. 303 from a city of over 1.2 million people, I am appalled by the trivial bickering and petty comments over the Hutterite Brethren’s application to establish a colony in our community.
I have been dealing with environmental agencies directly for the last 30 years of my career in the electrical field. I have read numerous letters to the editor, attended informational meetings and researched to some degree the issues that this community is facing.
I feel that one of the largest problems is that information has been propagated and skewed to the point of causing friction where there should be none. I can say that based on my experience in dealing with environmental agencies for decades.
First off I will defend the residents of Crystal Lake and Stenen to the point of saying that I am sure they are not against our newest neighbours moving into our community and having the same quality of life that we all enjoy.
Saying that, I also understand the concerns over the water supply and waste management issues at hand. I must state these issues have been looked at in great detail by many qualified agencies following government rules and regulations. Considering that, it would be foolish to think that any large scale operation that might impact the environment would ever be permitted.
The municipal council of Keys No. 303 has been under severe scrutiny for moving forward on the application by the Hutterite Brethren. Firstly, they were under a very strict time limit put forth by government agencies. Secondly, based on previous court cases with the Hutterite Brethren that set a precedence, the council felt it was wise to amend the zoning bylaw so as to avoid court cost. Thirdly, the decision on whether an ILO may be permitted is not for our RM council to decide, but rather the Government of Saskatchewan.
All the comments and concerns over the contamination of our aquafers are important, I agree, but these have been researched and studied to the nth degree by numerous professional groups. Yes, there is always the what-ifs and “barring a catastrophe.”
But how does this differ from the way things are today or over the past 50 years? I have heard comments about containment leaking into the water table, disposal of ILO waste and other possible issues.
So now let’s take a small look in our own past. Is the waste management lagoon east of Stenen up to today’s standards and guaranteed not to be seeping as was stated by some individuals? Are the numerous septic tanks and waste disposal sites located over these same aquifers up to modern standards? Are the numerous water supply wells that access these aquifers sealed against contamination with such devices as back flow preventers, which are mandatory in urban areas?
All these existing factors must be looked at before commenting on them in a new development. When fingers are pointed there is the potential to get them pointed back.
Most of us from around these parts are from large families and large farming operations. This has been going on for decades. It is nothing new. To this day many families are still working together as a family unit around our community. This does not differ from what is being proposed by the Crystal Lake Hutterite Brethren.
In closing I would like to say I am for progress and growth in any community. I am 100 per cent confident in the processes in place to assure the safety and purity of any sort of facility being proposed.
I am also comfortable knowing disaster contingency plans have been addressed. I feel this process goes above and beyond what has been approved in the past.