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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - July 10, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta 10, 1f71 IflHMIDGt HIRAIA 3 Dam site Over 3.7 million cubic yards of cement sitting in the middle of the Koofenay River, L'rbby dam is being constructed by the United States Army Corps of Engi- neers as the fourth project under the Columbia River Jfoaty between the U.S. and B.C CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2 Jin off their land, held the card and the ranch- it. For, whatever [in the land dealings, waters would not stop backing up behind the con- Crete reality of Lftby Dam. t OriKr a few of the original 1i affected ranchers have fwt to settle with govern- ment, but even those who look their price and got out tow not over-joyed. A beaten man John Sandberg and his wife Dorothy, sit outside their house at the community of Baynes Lake talking about Ott settlement they took in 1800. Mr. Sandberg, 70. has been ranching most of his Hfe and as he sits looking at bJf five-acre plot of land, he tg a beaten man. "We're not happy with the we were be "but you can't fight the government. Everybody was against the flooding, but there JNM nothing we could do." "John was like a lost sheep jjten we first sold Mrs. Bndberg said. Many of the people flooded have then- own horror to tell about the way they were treated. Before the deluge, the flbndbergs farmed 70 acres at bottom land and ran about 130 bead of cattle, but then- bad, buildings and home lay bL0ie path of the lake they with the government moved to Baynes Lake. However, their new house a not completed at the of the settlement so they asked the highways depart- ment if they could continue to live in their old home un- til the new one was ready. The government complied charged them rent When they left, they asked if they could take some of the good lumber from then- budd- ings. The government said no and then burned every- thing. Neil Tattrie, the department of highways, chief property negotiator, explained in a telephone interview from Vic- toria that there are good rea- sons for not letting people do what they like with govern- ment property even if the end return to the government is nothing. Allowing the Sandberg's to strip down then- old build- ings may make people lose then: respect for government property., And anyway, the government had paid for the house and it was the own- er, not the Sandberg's, Mr. Tattrie said. Gordon Ostoertrich settled with the government hi 1071 and at the time thought he had been treated fairly. Out of the area That opinion lasted until mis spring when he discov- ered the government not only wanted the ranchers out of the valley, they wanted them out of the area. Most of the ranches in that corner of the province depend for their survival on Crown grazing leases. The ranchers harvest hay crops from their bottom land and summer graze their herds on Crown land. But in order to keep a grazing permit, a rancher has to produce hay for winter feed. Mtv Ostoertrich had 300 acres of fertile land flooded but was left with 200 acres of benchland and 190 head of cattfc. This year, he was going to start clearing his remaining acreage for hay production when he was informed that his grazing permit would not be renewed this year because he had no bay land. Having 150. hungry cattle and no graze, be ignored the government and turned his cattle out anyway. Mr. Ostoertrich win be. tried July 30 in Cranbroefe, charged with trespassing on land. Let me down "I bargained in good he said, "but they let me down." His wife, Jean, put it hi stronger terms. "They kick yon down and they don't give you a chance to get up. "There's no future we might as well go on wel- fare." Gordon Ostoertrich speaks for many of the Libby reser- voir property owners when he says the government seems determined to get rid of livestock in the area. He's right Mr. Tattrie told The Herald that the govern- ment doesn't want to keep the ranches going. "We don't particularity -want them hi the area. The range was overstocked be- fore the project." The displacement turned CRANBROOK UBBY DAM Koolenay Valley Lake Koocanusa starts at the dam at Libby, Mon- tana, and is slowly backing up into British Columbia. The other three dams under the Columbia Treaty signed in 1964 are the Mica, north of Revelstoke, B.C., the Duncan, north of Kaslo, B.C., and the Arrow, near Castlegar, B.C. out to be a nice by-product of the Libby project, Mr. Tat- trie said. The plight of the hard- Rancher and son Doyle Reoy and son. rancher. In area, b bitter ovw Ihe land working men and women who carved ranches out of the Kbotenay Valley seems to be expressed by a phrase adopt- ed by militant American Indians: "They made us many promises, more than they can remember; but they only kept but one: they promised to take our land and they took it." Since the early 90s, the Kootenay Valley people who were never consulted on whether they wanted to be flooded out have listened to promises and in the be- ginning they believed what they heard. At a public meeting in Cranbrook in 1952, they were told by the American chair- man of the International Joint Commission, Augustus Stanley, that not only would they get a fair price for their land, but they'd be paid in good American dollars, in- stead of Canadian funds worth 80 or 90 cents. Reassured At the same meeting, the property owners say they were reassured that they would be able to relocate and that land in the area was being reserved for them. Since that time, the fish and wildlife branch of the department of lands and for- ests has decided that the benchland reserved for the ranchers would be better suited as wildlife habitat Kay Demarche, regional wildlife Wologfat m Cran- brook, says toe conflict CONTINUED ON PAGE 4 ;