Photo: Director Arthur Hadland discusses the Farmers Advocate Office at the PRRD meeting on Thursday – Christine Rumleskie/Energeticcity.ca
By Christine Rumleskie
If they haven’t already, landowners in the Peace Region should stop holding their breath for a Farmers Advocate office.
The news comes on the heels of a heated debate at the Peace River Regional District meeting on Thursday.
Two consulting firms had been candidates to operate the Farmers Advocate Office, for a trial period of 18 months. The South Peace office would have cost the PRRD $240,000, half of which would have been provided by the province.
Naturally, PRRD Director Mike Bernier is in favor of the location.
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The Farmers Advocate Office is now eight years in the making, and is supposed to be a resource for property owners in the Peace. For instance, if a landowner has a concern about oil and gas companies operating on their property, the Advocate Office would give the landowner the tools and information needed to address the problem.
Director Arthur Hadland says while there’s still room for improvement on the proposal, the Advocate Office is much needed, especially in the South Peace.
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But the issue that concerned many directors was a potential conflict of interest. One company that applied to operate the Advocate Office does consultation work involving oil and gas companies.
The board tabled the motion, and later had the companies confirm that they would continue their outbound work, all while running the independent office.
That decision swayed most directors to defeat the motion on the table, and come back with another plan of action. Directors Hadland, Mike Bernier and Lyman Clarke were the only directors that voted in favor of the motion.