A big solar project proposed to go near Frank Lake, east of High River, continues to face opposition from area residents.
Amy Marcotte with the Frank Lake Concerned Citizens group says the area is considered an IBA or 'Important Bird Area' and it needs to be preserved.
"Frank lake is an internationally recognized area for migrating birds. Frank Lake to this day on "ebirds" which is a chart online that documents all the birds that are here and there have been 253 different bird species charted at Frank Lake," she says. "This includes Alberta At Risk species and federal species At Risk and we are very particular about this lake because we love our wildlife and we take the boundaries of the Frank Lake IBA very seriously."
There are 47 IBAs in Alberta and Marcotte says one of the group's major concerns is that if this project is allowed to move forward, others may follow.
"If this project is put in through the IBA it opens the door for further encroachment, further fragmentation and development being put in the other 46 IBA's in Alberta."
Marcotte suggests projects like this be placed in areas where the land can't be farmed or in decommissioned gravel pits fearing that the more land is taken away from wildlife, there won't be anything left for future generations.
She says it's amazing what Frank Lake has turned into over the years and what it's done for conservation efforts, preserving at-risk species and ensuring animals have a future even with the changing climate.
Environment Canada and Foothills County have both come out against the project in filings with the Alberta Utilities Commission.
"We are very pleased with Environment Canada supporting in that we along with Environment Canada see great, great issues with this project being in such a valuable area," she says. "Environment Canada has pretty much the same concerns we do as a group, including their concerns regarding the impact on the migratory convent act because of how busy this area is with migrating birds."
The deadline for submissions to the AUC is August 29, 2022, after which the hearing process will begin.
Anyone interested in getting more information or becoming involved can contact RSecord@ackroydlaw.com