City fights against oil wells in West Lethbridge

As a mother, Amaris Varty hoped to raise her son, Tristan in a safe neighborhood.

“I picked to live here because it’s a family oriented area and that’s too close to home,” said West Lethbridge resident Amaris Varty.

But there’s a very real chance that just beyond her quiet west Lethbridge neighborhood, an energy company will be breaking ground on an oil and gas well.

An upsetting idea for many who call the southwest corner of the city their home.

“It makes me nervous,” said Varty. “It seems dangerous. i wouldn’t want my kid out playing by an oil field.”

Concerns like Varty’s have had City Council fighting the drilling for almost a year.

An energy company has secured the mineral rights on private property within the City, but it has yet to be given the drilling rights.

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“This takes land out of our useful inventory for neighborhood development for subdivision development in the future,” said Alderman Jeffrey Coffman. “It also creates conflict in the current setting as well, safety, health, well being for our current residents and the natural environment.””

The city says while its taken a formal stance of opposition, as a municipality it has no legal authority to stop a company from drilling within city limits, and it’s up to Lethbridge residents to raise their voice.

“It’s also for citizens and residents to step up and express their concerns as well about this kind of activity again going on within the municipality,” said Coffman.

It’s that hope for a strong presence at open house meetings that council says could make the difference for mothers like Varty.

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