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Property rights, land use topic of public meeting

Keith Wilson will discuss property rights and land use Wednesday, Jan. 12 during a public meeting sponsored by the South Porcupine Stewardship Association and the Western Stock Growers’ Association.

A lawyer with substantial expertise in property rights and land use will address a public meeting at the Heritage Inn in Pincher Creek Wednesday, Jan. 12 at 1:30 p.m.
St. Albert lawyer Keith Wilson, who has represented several hundred land owners across Alberta in cases involving property rights, water rights, land use, oil and gas, and municipal matters, will focus on Bill 36 — the Alberta Land Stewardship Act — in the meeting sponsored by the South Porcupine Stewardship Association and the Western Stock Growers’ Association.
“Bill 36 contains clear legal language in section 11 that gives the cabinet in Edmonton the legal authority to ‘extinguish’ — that’s their word — any and all forms of governmental permissions that people rely on today to conduct their affairs,” Wilson said.
“This includes the power to ‘extinguish’ water licences, land titles, freehold mineral titles, grazing leases, development permits, forestry agreements, well and pipeline permits, Crown mineral leases, and Alberta Environment approvals, etc, etc.”
While focusing on Bill 36 Wilson will also talk about Bill 19 (the Land Assembly Project Area Act), Bill 24 (the Carbon Capture and Sequestration Act), and possibly Bill 50 (the Electric Utilities Act).
“I’ll help people understand what the legislation says, how it could impact on them, how it changes the current rights they have to their land, to their water, or to run their farm or business in town,” Wilson said. “And I’ll explain how it changes to the role and powers of municipalities.”
Western Stock Growers Association governor Bill Newton said the meeting is open to everyone.
“The meeting is being held to inform the public about these acts, and the impact they will have on all Albertans — not just land owners,” Newton said. “There are issues that need to be brought to light. Fundamental rights that we have enjoyed from the origins of our province are being eliminated by these laws. So, everyone is affected.”
Wilson will speak on the power line controversy and how Bill 50 relates to that if there are enough people interested in that topic.
However, a meeting for people especially concerned about transmission lines will be held at the Cowley hall on Saturday, Jan. 15 at 2 p.m. with Joe Anglin making the presentation.
Prior to obtaining his law degree Wilson worked for eight years in the Farmers’ Advocate Office of the Alberta government dealing with issues relating to property rights, land use, water, oil and gas, and municipal matters.
Wilson has been in private practice since 1995 conducting cases in all levels of Alberta courts, regularly appearing before the Energy Resources Conservation Board, the Natural Resources Conservation Board, the Alberta Utilities Commission, and the Surface Rights Board.
Wilson has also been an advisor to Alberta’s major livestock associations on policy and legal matters, and has been retained by both industry groups and the Alberta government to assist in drafting legislation, and major policy reviews of legislation, including the Water Act, Crown Grazing Leases, the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, right to farm laws, the Agricultural Operation Practices Act, the Animal Keepers Act, the Animal Health Act, the Livestock Identification and Commerce Act.

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