Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - December 18, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
December 18, 1974 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD 43 Conference discusses impact of rapid action Slow pace suggested in Newfoundland oil development By HARRY CONNORS CP Correspondent ST JOHN'S, Nfld (CP) Ever since Eastcan Explor- ation Ltd struck gas off the Labrador coast this fall, there have been hints of an oil boom for Newfoundland However, a conference on the possible impact of oil de- velopment held at Memorial University was warned that if such development proceeded too rapidly, the only boom in store for the province could be the sound of the economy ex- ploding under the stress Experts from Canada, Nor- way and Britain exchanged viewpoints and information on the consequences of oil and gas developments, especially in the North Sea area off the United Kingdom. The question of how to cuu- trol the rate of oil and gas de- velopment dominated panel discussions Rapid development, it was said, would pose threats to a relatively underdeveloped economy such as New- foundland's and could also de- stroy the province's tradi- tional way of life Political economist Max Gaskin of University of Aber- deen, outlined the conflict which occurred when an easy- going area of Scotland sud- denly found itself with a high- powered oil industry "The geography of the oil discoveries in Scotland is such that the impact of the offshore operations is falling on areas of the country least prepared to withstand Gaskin said The oil had been discovered off a section of Scotland where population was sparse and the economies relatively underdeveloped "This means that labor availability is not very greaf, infrastructure such as government capable of pro- viding housing is not fully de- veloped, and social services that had existed are not up to demands now being placed upon it Prof Gaskin said CITY HARD HIT He said that even in a place like Aberdeen, a city of 000 with manj necessary ser- vices and labor marKe's, great stress had been put on social and economic situ- ations Industries which had settled in Aberdeen before the oil strike now found themselves drained of workers and the in- ability to provide housing was causing many social prob- lems Prof Gaskin said officials were not prepared for the speed of development from the first oil strike to the in- troduction of affiliated con- struction and service in- dustries Prof Gaskin suggested that many of the difficulties ex- perienced in Scotland were due to the fact that "things were happening so fast au- thorities were often merely reacting to a situation, rather than being in control But the situation is not hopeless, said Prof A Jack- son, an anthropologist with University of Edinburgh For instance, the Shetland County council had been rea- sonably successful Coun- cillors explored the islands to find out which would be the area of minimum impact and found one area, which they zoned for industrial develop- ment "They received a couple of million pounds from the oil companies for local industrial development and this will be increased over the Prof Jackson said The anthropologist noted this would be particularly sig- nificant in terms of Labrador, especially the town of Makko- vik 50 miles from one of the gas discoveries "What are 300 or so people there going to do during this period of exploitation of the gas and oil reserves7" ne asked Prof Jackson said the Scot- tish situation was similar to the Newfoundland situation in that "we have a population dependent on traditional ac- tivities such as fishing, knit- ware and crofting, or tenant very small indus- trial base It was this kind of which was least prepared tc handle such a development Ted Anderson, chairman of the Makkovik Community Council who attended the seminar, agreed He wanted to know how many local people would like- ly be employed in future offshore exploration and de- velopment, and whether there would be a viable fishing in- dustry for the 350 residents of the village once the oil boom passed While there were no imme- diate answers for Mr Ander- son's questions, the experts agreed these concerns should be central to any study of de- velopment potential Cabot Martin, legal advisor to the provincial mines and energy department, said the differing views on the rate of development were at the crux of junsdictional discussions between the province and Ot- tawa "The province wants the de- velopment to go slowly, while Ottawa wants a faster pace of Mr Martin said Mr Martin said that the provincial government at pre- sent does not recognize federal production permits Eastcan ation had only the province's permission to explore He said production guidelines would be based on Norwegian experiences O Kvmnsted, editor of a Norwegian oil industry publi- cation, said that in Norway there were strict legislative controls Certain areas were out of bounds to oil companies and any proposed construc- tion site which will employ more than 100 people must first receive permission from the central government STEREO PHOTO 419 5th Street South Phone 328-6661 CHARGEX OPEN MONDAY DECEMBER 23rd master charge ONE WEEK SUPER SPECIAL! 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