A proposed Hutterite intensive livestock operation (ILO) in the RM of Keys north of Canora near Crystal Lake is again raising concerns from the area’s population.

Many residents are still worried about the potential environmental impact of the chosen site. But their issue isn’t with the farm itself, but where it could be built: on top of an aquifer.

“We’re just opposed to where they have chosen to put it,” said Wilson Olive, a resident of both Crystal Lake and the RM of Keys.

“We’re not against them building in the RM, we’re just concerned of the location,” said Vivian Morgan, another concerned resident.

The concerned citizens group has now submitted their list of issues with the plan for the ILO to the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture, and also met with the provincial government in Regina last month.

“We’ve submitted over seven hundred signatures of people that are concerned living in the broad area that draw their water from the Fulton and the Empress Lake Aquifers,” Olive said.

The provincial government regulates ILOs, and there are rules for how many livestock can be kept in a facility based on square footage. Developers must also have approved plans for the storage of manure, nutrient management, and mortalities so water resources aren’t at risk of contamination. The Crystal Lake Hutterite Colony, the Hutterite brethren behind the project, say they’ve been following the guidelines closely.

“They do everything according to the book,” said George Hofer of the Crystal Lake Colony. “It bodes no favours to nobody, and I don’t want it any other way.”

The Hutterites also want to make the site their new colony in the area, as the site offers a number of economic benefits such as being close to a highway and having nearby connections for power and gas.

“All that this is for is to have different employment besides farming, which I think is a very good thing to have for your older people,” Hofer said.

Residents agree the site has economic perks, but want further study of any potential environment impacts.

Both parties are now waiting to see if the project moves ahead as planned, or if a regulatory body will intervene.