Environmental History in Lethbridge

Type the words “Earth Day” in the online Archives search at galtmuseum.com and you get a number of results ranging from St. Mary River Irrigation District to the World Citizens Centre. By clicking “View Details” on the Southern Alberta Environmental Group search result you learn that environmental organizations have been active in Lethbridge for many years.

The Southern Alberta Environmental Group (SAEG) was organized in the early 1980’s by the citizens of Lethbridge and area who were concerned about environmental issues response to a proposal by the Yuan Yi (Canada) Company Limited to build a hog processing plant in southeast Lethbridge. The organization received its certificate of incorporation under the Societies Act of the Province of Alberta on February 8, 1984.

The SAEG was not opposed to a hog processing plant for the city, but were opposed to the proposed location in southeast Lethbridge. Their main concerns centred on control of odours, handling of effluent and the potential negative impact on groundwater resources. The result of their efforts was a heated debate in the community about the merits of the Yuan Yi proposal. On 20 March 1998 company officials announced that they intended to pull out of Lethbridge and seek another location in Alberta for their hog processing plant.

After this effort the SAEG identified three main projects: 1) a clean-up project at the confluence of the Bow and Oldman Rivers; 2) a noxious weed project, and 3) collection of environmental literature to form a resource library. Later the SAEG’s concerns also included watershed management, soil degradation, toxic materials in the environment, wildlife habitat and environmental resource materials.

Join us at the Galt Museum & Archives for an early celebration of Earth Day, which occurs on APR 22, and make crafts from recycled materials on Saturday, April 16th for the Saturdays at 1:00 Hands-On History program for Families. Admission fees apply. Registration is not required. Materials are supplied and adults are to attend with children.