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   Volume 81 - Issue 17 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: news@passherald.ca   $1.00   
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Quote of the Week
“Don’t allow yourself to be confused into voting for the wrong person.”
- Ted Menzies  


A recent survey of residents living in the Crowsnest Pass, Pincher Creek, Cowley, Fort Macleod and Piikani First Nation Reserve showed overwhelming opposition to oil and gas development and logging practices in the Castle Special Management Area.
“There is a very clear expression of opinion pertaining to how the area should be used and not used,” the authors of the study wrote.
The survey was completed by 774 residents living in the area from April 3rd to April 12th, with 62 per cent of respondents reporting that they were opposed to oil and gas developments in the area.
Crowsnest Pass residents showed the strongest opposition, with approximately 69 per cent saying they strongly support no new oil and gas developments.
Additionally, 77 per cent of total responders said they opposed commercial clear cut logging practices in the areas of Castle Falls, Beaver Mines Lake and Lynx Creek.
Residents of the Piikani First Nation reservation voiced the strongest opposition at 88 per cent.
Regardless of voting preference, the majority of those surveyed said they are familiar with and use the area on a regular basis, and do not support any new development in the area.
However, the lowest opposition to area development was among respondents who support the Wildrose Party (72 per cent), and Conservative Party of Canada (70 per cent).
Liberal and New Democratic Party supporters reported opposition of 84 per cent and 90 per cent, respectively.
The majority of respondents, approximately 74 per cent, said they would support declaring the Castle Special Management Area as a Wildland Park, which would allow for continuing current types of recreation activities, summer grazing of cattle, and existing oil and gas developments, but would disallow any new commercial logging, mining, or oil and gas practices to be taken up in the area.
Piikani residents were the most supportive of the idea, with 82 per cent showing some support or strong support.
In response to one of the more controversial questions, 84 per cent of respondents reported they felt that wildlife habitat was either much more important or somewhat more important than recreation opportunities in the area.
Approximately 91 per cent of Fort Macleod residents displayed the greatest preference for wildlife habitat protection over recreational opportunities, with residents of the MD of Pincher Creek showing the lowest preference, about 75 per cent, although the majority were obviously still in favour.
More than 80 per cent of those surveyed said they had at least some familiarity with the Castle Special Management Area, with residents of the Town and MD of Pincher Creek showing the most familiarity at well over 90 per cent.
Crowsnest Pass Residents showed the second highest familiarity with the area, with approximately 22 per cent claiming at least vague familiarity, 36 per cent saying they were somewhat familiar, and 27 per cent saying they were very familiar with the area.
Piikani residents showed the least familiarity, with 49 per cent claiming never having even heard of the area, and only 15 per cent claiming to be very familiar with the area.
Among those familiar with the area, nearly two-thirds said they visit the area two or more times per year, with residents of the MD and Town of Pincher Creek showing the highest levels of use, and residents of Piikani and Fort Macleod showing the least.
About 42 per cent of Crowsnest Pass residents said they visit the area more than three times per year, compared to 57 per cent for the MD of Pincher Creek, 52 per cent for the Town of Pincher Creek, 35 per cent for Piikani residents, and 24 per cent for Fort Macleod.
The survey was conducted by the research firm Praxis, and the results will be coupled with those obtained from residents of Lethbridge and Coaldale.
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   Volume 81 - Issue 17 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: news@passherald.ca   $1.00   
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