At the 2023 Alberta Chapter, Canadian Land Reclamation Association annual conference, Chris Powter, Tanya Richens, Andy Etmanski, Amanda Schoonmaker, and Dean MacKenzie participated in a panel discussion designed to kick-start a conversation with Alberta reclamation practitioners about what principles should inform where we want to get to and how we want to get there. The Panel members have a combined 136 years of land reclamation experience in government, industry, consulting, and academia working in mining, sand and gravel, upstream oil and gas, and in-situ oil sands.
Introduction to the session
The five of us are passionate about reclamation and proud of the advances Alberta has made in regulation and practice over the last 60 years. We strongly support continuous improvement and adoption of new technologies and practices to improve reclamation outcomes.
However, we are concerned that, with the passage of time, we have forgotten, or worse discarded, some of the fundamental principles that led to our success.
So, we are here today to kick-start a conversation with all practitioners about what principles should inform where we want to get to and how we want to get there. This is not about the past; it is about the future. It is not about individual views; it is about all of us coming together to discuss, and ideally agree on the principles so we can create a solid foundation for growth, innovation, and evolution.
We encourage you to discuss and then agree on what our reclamation goal is, what success looks like, how to measure success, and then test if all these together make sense (that is, are they achievable at a reasonable cost in a reasonable timeframe).
During the discussions, draw on your education and experience, but please don’t forget common sense and logic! And consider your role not just as a practitioner but also as a member of the public.
The Panel members discussed the first five topics in the PowerPoint and then opened the floor up to the audience for comments and questions. During the audience participation portion, the remaining slides were displayed to stimulate conversation.