Letter sent to John Wright Pres. & CEO SaskPower;

Reasonable Expectations


Gerald Regnitter at Friendly Forest

Box 289

Christopher Lake, Saskatchewan

S0J 0N0

January 13, 2003

John Wright

President & CEO SaskPower

2025 Victoria Avenue

Regina, Saskatchewan

S4P 0S1

Mr. Wright:

One year ago SaskPower received a letter from Saskatchewan Environment (then SERM) indicating that the PA 8 Rebuild project would not be considered a "development" according to the Environmental Assessment Act, provided that a list of mitigating conditions were adhered to. While I still disagree with the SERM "reasons for the decision", our Forest Fringe Citizens' Group did not have the funds to fight that decision in court.

It is important to note that December 11, 2002, was the FIRST contact from SaskPower to me indicating SaskPower's intention to remove trees from my property. The initial survey work for the line was conducted on behalf of SaskPower during February and March 2002, so it is clear that line requirements were known to SaskPower early on.

Yet, SaskPower did not notify me or my neighbours. In light of this, it is most disconcerting to have Mr. Warren Folwark, on behalf of SaskPower, indicate that SaskPower plans to rush the project work, telling me that SaskPower was proceeding with or without my consent to access my land, and without affording me sufficient time to consult and prepare a document with a version of an agreement that would suit my needs, which you, in your letter to me dated December 27,2002, and Mr. Folwark, in his letter dated December 23, 2002, asked me to provide SaskPower.

As I informed Mr. Folwark in a brief phone conversation at 08:50 on January 8, 2003, until we have reached a mutually acceptable agreement, SaskPower does not have permission to be on my land. Access to my land without agreement with me as landowner will be considered trespass, which is forbidden by signage posted on my land.

I also wish to express my dismay at the conduct of other SaskPower personnel. In early 2000 your Vice President Pat Youzwa sat at a table in my home, in the presence of Warren Folwark and Bernie Bolen, and told me that the powerline project would NOT be on my land. In June 2001, Bernie Bolen told over 100 people at a public meeting in Christopher Lake, "Gerald, the project will not even affect your trees!" This promise was repeated to the media by Mr. Larry Christie who indicated that none of Mr. Regnitter's trees would be affected. Clearly, there was no truth in their words. To quibble and to argue as Mr. Folwark did in my home on December 19, 2002, that since the actual poles are not on my titled property, I was not affected, should have been beneath the dignity of any person or any public corporation.

I, and many others, fully realize that SaskPower has selected a route option that does the most damage to the natural environment and most adversely affects the most area residents. However I also recognize that the regulators at Sask Environment, in their mitigating conditions, were attempting to minimize the destruction that SaskPower would cause in the forest. I have consulted with Mr. R. Seguin to obtain clarification as to the purpose and objectives of those written conditions to which SaskPower agreed as a condition of not having to conduct a full environmental assessment of the project. It is clear to me that SERM's intentions were to have the fewest possible trees cut, and then only those that immediately threatened line security.

The tallest possible line height would result in the fewest possible trees being cut if line security were indeed the key factor in SaskPower's construction plans. I am sure that if SaskPower did indeed use the tallest possible poles along this forest strip, the commitments of Pat Youzwa, Bernie Bolen and Larry Christie could be correct in that no trees on my titled land would have to be cut.

Since that is not the intended course of action by SaskPower, I will address myself to conditions to which I would agree and which will still permit SaskPower to meets its objectives along my property in a manner that is completely reasonable and proper for both of us:

Conditions which are to be included in an agreement between SaskPower and Gerald Regnitter regarding LS 1 & 2, SE 16, 53, 26, W. 2nd which would permit Saskpower temporary access to the land for the purpose of removing trees required for the construction of this portion of the PA 8 Rebuild project.

Factors mitigating the amount of damage to the forest ecology both during construction phase and for the remainder of the life of the line are to include ALL of the mitigating conditions set out by SERM and available for application to private land, along with some additional considerations that are clearly within the intent of the SERM conditions:

  • No use of any kind of herbicide for vegetation control during construction or at any time for the life of the line. (The corridor is up-hill from the spring-fed pond on Friendly Forest and any herbicide use will negatively impact on the immediate area of application and will contaminate the soil and ground waters that feed the pond.)

  • Saskatchewan Environment requires that " h) across the width of the corridor, only those trees which immediately threaten line security (or will do so in the next three years) will be selectively cut, i) clear cutting of a block of trees will only occur where an even height stand occurs which, in its entirety, is threatening the line." Since there is no area on my land that does not also have younger and smaller trees in with the larger trees that might threaten line security in this fashion, I would require that there be NO clear cutting of trees on the land during the construction phase or later. Careful removal of the tallest trees can be achieved if proper harvesting procedures are used. This will leave in tact the younger trees and under-story vegetation and speed up the return to more normal forest cover, as well as leave in tact the soil structure and composition. Both for construction and maintenance phases, any tree removal that requires the use of machinery other than chainsaws, must be limited to winter months when the ground is frozen,. Since SaskPower has permission to remove trees that would threaten line security within three years, this gives more than adequate time to plan removal in winter months so as to minimize disturbance to trees, endangered plant species in the corridor, the soil and wildlife.

  • If tree removal leaves any significant area of open ground, restocking is to be undertaken in those areas as required by Sask Environment " j) .... immediately post-construction to standard tree stocking rates and with species determined by SERM,"

  • To erect and maintain "No hunting; occupied dwellings within 500 m." signs along the entire corridor as required within the NPF, and monitoring of these signs as per SERM document File: M10-3-2 (SPC - PA8, S1-P2) (Stage 1) Project # 01-042, a letter from Randy Seguin of SERM to Robert Stedwill dated January 17, 2002 In addition to reporting to SERM, reports to be filed with the landowner at the same time.

  • SERM's requirement with regard to fencing and fence fabric recognized landowner concerns regarding dangers of shooting along the corridor and the great risks that poses to landowners residing close to the corridor. We all know that game animals will be attracted to the corridor for browse, and that requires blocking, not only to prevent vehicle access, but also structures that block line-of-sight along the corridor. The height of the highway relative to the forest on either side, provides a significant line of sight OVER a 2.44 m fence proposed by SaskPower. This is a significant problem and must be addressed in several ways: a) To restrict access with fencing and gates as per the SaskPower concept drawing dated 99-11-23, so as to block access at entry point to the land, and b) in addition, on each high point of land along the corridor, so as to block any line of sight possibility along the corridor. Because of the problem created by the height of the highway adjacent to the forest corridor, the planned vegetation / shrub planting shown on the concept drawing must be of taller species at that location than would be used elsewhere. A band of taller trees and shrubs should be allowed to remain along the highway. This should be very possible considering the extra pole height that is required to cross the highway. Taller trees would be unlikely to threaten line security beside the highway. This is supported by Sask Environment's requirement to "c) use the minimum clearing required for the stringing of conductors / wires between pole structures" ... and " h) across the width of the corridor, only those trees which immediately threaten line security (or will do so in the next three years) will be selectively cut." These fences and gates and woven fabric are to be monitored according to the direction of the SERM document. In addition to reporting to Sask Environment, reports to be filed with me or any succeeding landowner at the same time.

  • In clearing of trees during construction and at all times subsequent to this, minimum clearances are to be observed.

  • Supervision of all construction must have the direct involvement of Mr. Ron Quinn. After Ms Michelle Williams, who was the head of the team gathering environmental data on behalf of SaskPower, but employed by Erin Consulting, became an employee of SaskPower's project team immediately after completion of the ERIN work, I have little or no faith in the professional integrity of ERIN consulting to be effective environmental monitors of this project. I will accept the involvement and supervision of Mr. Ron Quinn as having professional integrity that I cannot attribute to the entire firm. I have also requested very close supervision by Sask Environment officials to ensure that SaskPower construction methods adhere to the letter and intent of Sask Environment conditions.

  • On future abandonment of the line SaskPower will reforest the corridor to restore it to its original forest character.

Factors affecting compensation for damage to my property and business: (Ref. "The corporation shall pay to the owner or lessee of the lands or to any other person who is entitled, reasonable compensation for any damage caused by the corporation to crops, buildings, trees, shrubs, fences, chattels or livestock during the course of entry on the lands for the purpose of constructing, maintaining, inspecting, replacing or removing the power line." (SaskPower Act 31,5. b )

  • The development of Friendly Forest has always been directed by principles of ecological respect for the land and all of its inhabitants. Consequently, tree harvesting for commercial purposes has not happened, and the idea of selling the trees taken from this land for pulp is abhorrent. If trees must be cut, their use should be directed in a manner useful to Friendly Forest and my business, Friendly Forest Products. This will be achieved if ALL trees, of both hardwood and softwood varieties that are cut, are managed in the following manner:

    • any tree with a base diameter of 8 inches or more will be treated as a saw log and will be milled into lumber of appropriate dimensions as agreed to by the landowner. For hardwood species, this milled lumber to be stacked, air spaced, and banded for air drying, and delivered to a location designated by the landowner on his land, and in the case of the softwood species, to be delivered as milled, planed and kiln dried lumber.

    • The quantities of trees to be removed from my land as indicated by Warren Folwark from the survey work of Allan Jurgens and calculations by SaskPower's Bruce Martin have been estimated to yield 35.6 metric tonnes of softwood and 57 metric tonnes of hardwood. Using estimates from Sask Environment's Forestry Division, this should yield an average of 51 cubic metres of softwood and 63 cubic metres of hardwood. Since most of trees to be removed are quite straight and tall, there should be relatively little of the trees not able to be milled into lumber.

    • The tops of saw log trees that are not able to be milled into lumber and all smaller diameter trees (if there are any small diameter trees that tall) are to be cut into 8 foot cord wood lengths and delivered and stacked at a location designated by me as landowner. The "slash", branches and very top portions of the trees cut are to be chipped with the chips thinly and widely dispersed in the area from which the trees were removed so as to restore soil nutrients from where the trees were taken.

    • I, Gerald Regnitter, the owner of LS 1, 2, SE 16, 53, 26, W 2nd, the land in question, have in past years developed an extensive trail system as part of the eco-tourism development of Friendly Forest. SaskPower's line clearing will destroy a major trail link and greatly impairs the use of this feature of the land and business. This will require the creation of an entirely new trail link away from the harmful emissions of the line, to connect the west and eastern ends of the trail system. Because of the ecologically sensitive nature of these trails and how they are created, only hand labour is used to protect the ecological integrity of the landscape, leaving the soil in tact. A reasonable cost for redoing this connecting section of trail would be $5,000.00 This does not take into account the lost eco tourism opportunities nor the loss of enjoyment of these trails by me and by visitors and guests at Friendly Forest due to the time required to establish and groom a new trail link.

    • Any future access to the land LS 1, 2, SE 16, 53, 26, W 2nd will require a new agreement between the landowner and SaskPower for compensation consideration appropriate to the damage that the land and trees experience because of such future access.

These considerations shall apply during the time the land LS 1, 2, SE 16, 53, 26, W 2nd is owned by Gerald Regnitter and his heirs or successors for the remainder of the life of the line.

I am willing to consider these conditions in exchange for permission for SaskPower to access my land to remove trees required to construct this portion of the PA 8 Rebuild line.


Gerald Regnitter at Friendly Forest

cc:Mr. Kris Eggum, Eggum Abrametz & Eggum

101 - 88 13th Street East

Prince Albert, Sask.

S6V 1C6

Mr. Warren Folwark

5NE - 2025 Victoria Avenue

Regina, Saskathewan

S4P 0S1

Mr. R. Seguin

Environmental Assessment Branch

Saskatchewan Environment

142 - 3211 Albert Street

Regina, Saskatchewan

S4S 5W6