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 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 which 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 knowledgable 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.

By Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on May 04, 2023 at 17:00

This item reprinted with permission from   East Central Alberta Review   Coronation, Alberta

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