SaskPower's Final Assault on Decency and the Environment

For the whole story of SaskPower's brutal disregard for people and environment, check out the story in "Forest of Protest" 
OR a summary as published in the Spring 2003 CEN EA Reporter Newsletter.  Click here for the article.

Click on Thumbnails below for a larger image

Feb. 14, 2003

SaskPower bulldozer at work stripping forest. (mid photo) Old growth trees in this area are over 100 years old and 33 m / 100 feet or more in height. All of this could have been avoided and the line placed over already opened land away from homes.

As wide and destructive as this forest corridor is, if it had not been for the 2000 people who adopted trees along this path, Sask Environment would not have imposed conditions that prevented it from being fully twice as wide, totally stripped and chemically sterilized. (SaskPower's usual construction methods in forest) I have been told that SaskPower is using this latter, massively destructive method of routing through forest in the Meadow Lake area of Saskatchewan. They have learned NOTHING from the Christopher Lake / Friendly Forest experience.

The irony of it all is that the fight so many of us have waged to have decency and common sense prevail was a fight for the children and grandchildren of the SaskPower project team and executive who planned and executed this "'crime." (Such acts against the environment and against our common future needs to be included in Canada's Criminal Code!) The fight was to preserve some environment in tact so that it would be there for the enjoyment and health of those future generations. No only have these SaskPower people needlessly destroyed something precious in the present, they have destroyed a real part of the future of their own children. While this is so clearly true in this situation, there are far too many parallel situations happening all around us. If we care for this earth that God has given us, if we care for the generations that are to follow, we need to do much better than we have done so far. I pray that SaskPower people and all of their kind be reborn with "new eyes" that will enable them to see what is around them in a new way, and that with a new heart they will be better stewards of the future. "To those whom great power has been given, much will be asked." What will be their answer on that day?

This tree had a base diameter of over 30 inches and I counted 106 growth rings. This tree was here before my grandfather came to Canada.

A few days ago these giants were standing regal, alive and part of a complex old-growth forest ecosystem. Not only have these trees been destroyed, but so too the whole, wonderful and complex forest ecology of which they were a part for so long. These are the trees SaskPower always refers to as "brush" and about which they declared our land value would go up with the removal of these trees!

This is the adoption marker that was tied to this old giant. SaskPower has promised in a letter linked above, that they would collect these markers and return them to the person to whom they belong. This marker was still on the tree as it lay on the ground. The printed declaration declared: 'SaskPower, if you kill my adopted tree, send this marker to me at (person's mailing address). I have supplied SaskPower with a full list of names and mailing address so that markers that have either a faded name or address can be identified and returned. We wait to see if this promise is another SaskPower deception.

On March 26 I walked along this same area and found the same marker lying on the ground amid the ripped branches and crushed tree trunks left on the forest floor. I have taken this marker and will return it in person to the person whose adopted tree was destroyed here.

Part of East-West section of King's Loop being destroyed. It is in this corridor that nearly all of the tree adoptions were located. February 26, 2003

The spruce trees that are still standing in this photo are slated to be taken down. The corridor stripped here is only the section of technical "road allowance". Additional trees will be taken down well beyond this central section.

I am glad that the many people who were expressing their solidarity with this environmental cause are not here to hear and see the machines, and to see the destruction first hand. This action by SaskPower, sanctioned by the NDP government of Saskatchewan, represents a totally needless destruction of continuous forest. SaskPower's own environmental data, fully known by the NDP politicians, had declared this route option as the MOST ENVIRONMENTALLY DAMAGING of all the options considered. It is also the MOST EXPENSIVE of all the options. Why then was it selected? The answer provided by many who consider the situation is that SaskPower felt the need to make an example of the people living along this section, demonstrating what happens to those who resist the plans of the Regina-based engineers and managers of this corporation. By seeing this, others should be deterred from ever again daring to resist the corporate power abuse of this public utility!

Along the east-west portion of King's Loop, the fallen aspen trees are laid out. As I walked through here on February 28, 2003, the entire area reminded me of a battlefield after a great battle, with the fallen soldiers laid out for mass burial. These fallen trees were the living symbols of the 2000 persons adopting trees, signs of their presence in the face of SaskPower bulldozers and SaskPower disregard for environment and for people. Although the symbols may have fallen, the resolve of citizens to stop needless destruction of environment has been strengthened.

Another view taken on a dark and cloudy February day. The dark sky was a fitting setting for the evil act that SaskPower had perpetrated here. This image represents only the first stage of their corridor clearing. Spruce trees and additional trees beyond the area shown are still slated for destruction over the next few days. I will add updated images to this file.

My companion "King" seems to have caught the sense of what has happened. He moved from fallen tree to fallen tree as if in an effort to understand what has taken place here along his familiar run. I admit that we cannot "understand" what has happened any better than he does. How does a decent mind understand the mind behind a criminal act?

My companion "King's" demeanor tells it all. This impressive king of the forest fell to the self-serving and power-corrupted attitude of SaskPower officials. They have brought a curse on this land, but the most frightening aspect is that they represent only part of what has been wrong for so long with the attitudes of those who hold power on our behalf. They see that power as their playing field rather than as a sacred trust which they hold for the present and for the future.

This photo was pointed to the East. In the far background one catches a glimpse of the already opened land about 3 KM beyond through which the line could have been routed. Had this been done, the project would have damaged much less environment, been much cheaper, and not come within 500 meters of anyone's home! Such a rational and decent approach was not within the moral competence of SaskPower officials.

This photo illustrates what has happened to a portion of the trail system that I had developed. SaskPower refuses to even consider any compensation for the work that I had done to create the system, and whose entire southern portion they have destroyed. They did not mind using my work to save them some money when the line was surveyed, using my open trails, but a decent compensation consideration is totally beyond them.

Death Row. This image is taken looking to the East at the completion of the forest destruction. Already the poles are bing dropped along the corridor. The Gulf War term "Collateral Damage" takes on another level of meaning when we see it applied to this war against the environment being committed by SaskPower. Here most of the "collateral damage" will be more hidden. The habitat of thousands of forest dwellers has been destroyed. The soil has been altered forever. Ground water patterns are disrupted. Invansive plant and animal species will penetrate and contaminate the forest flora and fauna well into the adjacent forest areas. Winds will whip down a new wind tunnel and destroy even more trees that currently escaped the chainsaw.Tthe list goes on and on. For this "successful war" the generals at SaskPower in Regina will likely get promotions and fat bonus cheques for "a job well done!" Yes, they did their job well. But we know it was work that should not have been done in this manner, and they stand condemned by nature and by God.

These ancient ones stand in witness to the needless destruction that happened to their neighbours and companions of the past 100 years. This is part of the boreal forestorest the way God / Creator made it, and which we are charged to care for.

Forest the way God / Creator made it

These are the replacement "trees" which give such delight to the engineers and officials at SaskPower in Regina. I am sure that when Mr. Bernie Bolen and the other members of the SaskPower PA 8 Rebuild Project Team view this image, their hearts will swell with pride. This is "beauty" in the eyes of those whose true vision has been taken away by the corrupting influence of power and control and personal pride.

This image should be on the banner that SaskPower displayed at all our "public consultation meetings". On the banner were the words; "Environment is first with SaskPower", or words to that effect. What the banner did not spell out was what kind of environment they were putting first. We have found out, as has every visitor to this part of the province who drives north along Highway No. 2.

A "Truely Beautiful Tree" in the eyes of SaskPower's Regina Engineers. If they can make a Boreal Forest look like bare grasslands, they believe they have achieved something truly great and praiseworthy. Do you think that the Creator of that boreal forest would agree? Do you think that if God had wanted this part of our land to look like barren ground he would have allowed any life to return to the land after the glaciers melted over 10,000 years ago?

Sask Power Reforestation in progress. Look at the new trees that they have selected to replace the many thousands of living trees they have removed to make the land resemble the already opened land 2 km further east. That open land would have hosted this power line without requiring any tree removal and without impacting on people's homes.



The following items are the correspondence I have had with SaskPower since a meeting with Warren Folwark, a SaskPower land agent, who came to see me at my home on December 11, 2002.

At that time I was presented with an easement agreement which they wanted me to sign immediately. It identified how many trees they planned to take, etc., but omitted any reference to the environmental conditions a Saskatchewan Environment decision of January 17, 2002 provided for private land owners in this forested area.

I was also immediately threatened with action under legislation that would give me no say and no rights in the matter at all. I required that Mr. Folwark prepare a written copy of what he had presented to me orally, and I asked him to establish his credentials as someone able to sign agreements that would also bind SaskPower. He was unable to provide that to me, so I wrote the first of my letters to SaskPower asking to know who I could deal with in that capacity. What follows are the letters, in sequence, that passed between me and SaskPower. Letters that I received I have passed through a text reader program, and format is not the same as the original letter, but content is unaltered.

Read for yourself and see if you can come to conclusions different than ours.

See Sask EcoNetwork's ACTION ALERT
1. Letter to John Wright, SaskPower President asking who has signing authority for the Corporation
2. Reply from John Wright of SaskPower revealing that their land agents did NOT have signing authority, causing all agreements landowners have signed with SaskPower to be such that the landowner is bound by the contents, but SaskPower is not legally bound to the same conditions.
3. Letter from SaskPower's Warren Folwark asking me to propose terms for an agreement with SaskPower and their repeated threat to me.
4. My reply to John Wright on Jan. 6 indicating my intentions to reach an agreement suitable to SaskPower and to me.
5. My letter to SaskPower detailing elements that I considered to be a reasonable agreement between me and SaskPower. Be sure to read this one very carefully and completely.
7. The reply from SaskPower's Legal Counsel refusing all elements of my proposal and declaring their intention to proceed without permission and without compensation to me according to Section 33 of the Sask Power Act, and thereby refusing to accept the SaskEnvironment conditions as they should have applied to my land.
8. Emails from January 2002 that confirm that SaskPower is required to reach agreement regarding environmental concerns with private landowners.
9. The original January 17, 2002 letter from Sask Environment to SaskPower authorizing the project with mitigating conditions applied. This gives all of the environmental conditions that SaskPower accepted.


A1. Letter to the Editor calling for SaskPower accountability (Prince Albert Herald Feb. 4, 2003)


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