Oilsands Quest to sell Wallace Creek, focus on developing Axe Lake

CALGARY – Junior oil company Oilsands Quest Inc. (NYSE:BQI) has agreed to sell its Wallace Creek property in Alberta for up to $60 million to an unnamed buyer. 

Calgary-based Oilsands Quest said it will be paid $40 million cash at closing and an addition $20 million, “subject to certain future events,” which the company did not outline. 

Proceeds of the sale will be used to develop its Axe Lake property in Saskatchewan toward commercial development. 

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“It will provide us much of the capital we need to complete the Axe Lake pilot and prove the commercial recoverability of our highest priority core asset,” CEO Garth Wong said in a statement. 

“While Wallace Creek has shown considerable potential, it is not yet as well delineated as Axe Lake and is therefore considerably further away from commercial development.” 

The company expects the sale agreement of its Wallace Creek property to be concluded by the end of October with the final transaction of the sale completed by the end of the year. 

This past July, the company received approval from the provincial government to convert portions of its Axe Lake permits to 15-year leases, the first oil sands leases in Saskatchewan. 

Oilsands Quest says those leases are one of the key elements it needs to proceed with the development of a commercial oil sands production facility. 

Last year, Oilsands Quest filed an application to the Saskatchewan government to start a pilot project at Axe Lake that would become the first stage of a 30-thousand barrel-per-day commercial oil sands development. 

Those plans were put on hold late in 2010 while the company searched for a partner or other strategic alternative to assist with the capital expenditures to build the facility. 

Axe Lake is located north of Clearwater River Provincial Park along the Alberta border and is the first major oil sands exploration in Saskatchewan. 

With files from The Canadian Press 


Winnipeg mayor wades into provincial election campaign

Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz is making his voice heard in Manitoba’s provincial election. 

 

The right-leaning mayor has not endorsed any side in the campaign and took aim Tuesday at all parties over infrastructure spending.  

 

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In a news conference with Association of Manitoba Municipalities president Doug Dobrowolski at a street corner in a commercial area notorious for road congestion, Katz expressed disappointment at the lack of promises to upgrade crumbling roads, sidewalks and other infrastructure. 

 

“We’ve seen millions of dollars being promised for a variety of interests from those seeking office this election, but if you actually want to do something positive to improve the quality of life for our citizens, then step up and do what’s right and provide municipalities with a real funding source to address the priorities of the people who are electing you,” Katz is quoted in a news release. “What’s the point of investing more money into health care if ambulances can’t navigate our roads? Why pledge more money for community centres if we can’t even walk on our sidewalks? Although there are many laudable priorities, we need to take care of the basics and first address our infrastructure needs to have a lasting impact and make a positive difference.” 

 

Tory leader Hugh McFadyen has promised a $375 million infrastructure fund for municipalities over 5 years, and $40 million to pave hundreds of back lanes in Winnipeg. The NDP has boasted of it’s five year highway renewal plan and commitment to Manitoba Hydro building projects. 

 

Katz did take a swipe at the province’s NDP, reviving a complaint that the Selinger government falsely claimed in its last budget that it would commit a portion of the Provincial Sales Tax to infrastructure. 


TV’s Ricki Lake finishes first and Chaz Bono lands in last place on ‘Dancing With the Stars’

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LOS ANGELES, Calif. – TV talk show host Ricki Lake celebrated her top-scoring 23 points and 12 inches (30.5 centimetres) of weight loss; TV news commentator Nancy Grace celebrated some quick thinking in the control room; and Chaz Bono celebrated just getting through his routine on “Dancing With the Stars.”

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“My knees just hurt so much,” Bono said before landing in last place Monday night. The activist and only child of the musical duo Sonny and Cher is counting on viewer votes to carry him through Tuesday’s episode, when a second celebrity will be eliminated from the hit ABC show.

Judges’ scores are combined with viewer votes to determine who is ousted each week. Basketball star Ron Artest, now known as Metta World Peace, was the first contestant to go.

Judges said Monday that Bono’s quickstep was just too slow and gave him 17 points out of 30.

“The bottom line is it’s a quickstep and I’ve moved faster through the car wash,” judge Len Goodman said.

Grace was perhaps moving a little too fast. She suffered a wardrobe malfunction during a bouncy number danced to “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing”). Grace had a little too much swing in partner Tristan MacManus’ arms and her breast spilled out of her dress.

Viewers saw little if nothing of the mishap, however, thanks to a quick cut-away to the studio audience. After the number, host Tom Bergeron consoled the flustered Grace.

“On the European version,” he said with a laugh, “that would be perfectly fine.”

The 42-year-old Bono blamed his aching knees for forcing him to “(take) out some of the flashier stuff that was just really hurting my body,” but said he’ll push himself to the limit to stay on the show.

Lake’s flashy moves during the jive earned her and partner Derek Hough the highest score of the night, and she’s as happy about that as she is about her shrinking body. Lake, who said last week that she was inspired by former contestant Kirstie Alley’s “Dancing” weight loss, has dropped 4 inches (10 centimetres) from her hips, 4 (10 centimetres) from her waist and another 4 (10 centimetres) from the rest of her after three weeks of rehearsals.

“I’m really getting in great shape,” she said after the show. “I’ll be wearing less and less clothing. The smaller I get, the less will be covered.”

Rob Kardashian revealed his own weight woes before collecting 21 points for what judges called a “confident” jive.

“It’s official. Rob Kardashian is a better dancer than (sister) Kim Kardashian!” judge Carrie Ann Inaba said Monday. (Kim lasted just three weeks when she was part of the show’s 2008 cast.)

“You have the dancing gene,” Inaba said.

Kardashian’s 21 points were good for third place, where he tied with Grace, singer Chynna Phillips and Italian actress (and Clooney ex) Elisabetta Canalis.

Actor J.R. Martinez and reality star Kristin Cavallari both finished second with 22 points.

Joining Bono near the bottom of the scoreboard were actor David Arquette and TV personality Carson Kressley, who each earned 18 points.

Arquette said before his performance that he wanted to “blow people’s minds,” but the judges slammed his routine.

“Any connection that had with the jive was a coincidence,” Goodman said. “The technique wasn’t there.”

Kressley turned in hours of extra rehearsal time, but his quickstep was still “a little wobbly,” Inaba said.

Soccer pro Hope Solo scored 19 points for a jive that earned a mixed response from the judges.

The new “Dancing” set, however, which made its debut last week, is winning unanimous raves from the cast of pros. The revamped ballroom features a three-tier balcony, cocktail-table seating and a grand staircase that splits to reveal the orchestra.

“It’s so epic. It’s an honour to dance on it,” said Mark Ballas, Cavallari’s professional partner. “It’s got a cool energy. You step out into it. It feels like a Roman coliseum.”

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ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co.

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Online:

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AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen can be reached at 杭州桑拿按摩论坛杭州夜生活twitter杭州龙凤/APSandy.


Doer top pick for Manitoba premier – Winnipeg

Gary Doer remains a powerful presence in Manitoba politics: much to the chagrin of current contenders for the province’s top job. 

 

The former NDP premier – who quit politics in 2009 to become Canadian ambassador the United States – remains the favourite among Manitoba voters to win the premier’s chair in the province’s October 4th election, according to Global’s Canada’s Pulse Poll released Monday. 

 

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The survey conducted by Ipsos Reid asked Manitobans, “who do you think would be the best premier of Manitoba” – but included a number of potential “candidates” who aren’t even on the list. Doer scored highest, with 38% support, compared to 22% for Progressive Conservate Leader Hugh McFadyen and 17% for New Democratic Party leader Greg Selinger, who won the leadership to replace the charismatic Doer. Liberal leader Jon Gerrard scored only 5 %, behind two other men are not even part of the provincial election campaign: Winnipeg mayor Sam Katz (10%) and Winnipeg Jets owner Mark Chipman (8%). 

 

“It’s not a surprise at all,” Selinger said Monday when asked about the continuing popularity of the man who’s electoral success he’s trying to replicate. Doer won three straight majority governments in 1999, 2003 and 2007. 

 

“He was premier at a time when Manitobans were going through a lot of infrastructure,” University of Winnipeg political scientist says of Doer, who spearheaded big building projects like the MTS Centre, Floodway expansion and others. “But again, likeability matters.” 

 

When the non-candidates are removed from the question, Selinger leads with 46%, McFadyen trails at 37% and Gerrard is at 17%. 


Deer cull key issue at Union of B.C. Municipalities meeting

 Oh, deer, what can the matter be?

It’s an explosive issue, as deer suddenly have lost their fear of humans and have been attacking pets and even people in rural B.C.

Cranbrook is the first B.C. community to receive provincial approval to cull problem deer in its downtown area, and Kimberley and other B.C. towns are lining up for the right to curb the huge increase in the deer population.

It’s an emotional issue, and one that civic officials from across the province will tackle Tuesday at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention.

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“At the end of the day, it’s public safety,” said Cranbrook Mayor Scott Manjak, who said the city intends to put down ‘15 to 25 problem deer’ that pose a threat. “These are wild animals.

“Our rural deer population is exploding.

“Kimberley is working through the same process, and Grand Forks, Invermere and Sparwood are looking at it, too.”

The thought of deer being shot is repulsive to many, but Manjak said public attitudes changed in part when a Kimberley woman was hospitalized after a deer attack in June.

“We did a community survey, and we got over 1,100 responses, which is amazing,” said Manjak.

The mayor said the “majority” support the cull, but admitted “certainly there are people who don’t support the direction that we’re going.”

Kimberley officials are trying a three-pronged strategy – they’ve applied to cull up to 100 problem deer, but are weighing two other optionsj. They’re looking at relocating the deer out of town, and also bringing in border collies to keep the nuisance deer out of the community during the two dangerous periods of the year for deer – spring fawning season, when mothers aggressively defend their young, and fall rutting season, when amped-up males will sometimes charge unexpectedly.

“We have more problem deer than Cranbrook,” said Al Mulholland, the city’s chief administrative officer. “We’re trying to limit the human-deer contact.

“We’ve applied to bring in border collies in the spring when the mothers are protecting their young, to keep them out of town.

“The collies have been effective keeping deer out of Waterton and elk out of Banff.”

Mulholland said the benefit of the temporary relocation is that during tourist season visitors still are enchanted by urban deer, which don’t pose a threat at that time of year..

“The tourists come to town, and they want to take photos with the deer.”

Kimberley’s other plan would see the deer relocated to fertile Crown land about 20 km out of town, and hope they don’t return.

“There’s lot of grass and vegetation there – we hope they’ll like it.”

Oak Bay Mayor Christopher Coulson will moderate a UBCM discussion Tuesday entitled, ‘Management of Urban Wildlife’.

“They’re scaring people, and there is going to be loss of life,” said Coulson, who said deer are a multi- community issue on the island – fearless animals travel from one community to another. “We’re going to look at how a community can deal with it, and how a community in a region can do it.”

Coulson said deer are losing their fear of humans, and predators are disappearing.

“If a cougar comes into the capital regions, it’s surrounded, caught, and shot,” said Coulson. “So the deer have no natural predators.

“Their natural predators are a danger to humans, and now the deer are a danger to humans.”

Rebecca Gindin-Clark, of the animal-rights group Liberation B.C. said shooting the deer is not the answer.

“Killing the current population is not going to solve the problem – other deer will just move in,” she said. “We’ve created a habitat that is very attractive.

“If we get caught in this trap, we’re going to be caught in a cycle of destruction.

“It’s not a long-term solution.”

B.C. cabinet minister Blair Lekstrom – the province must approve any proposed deer culls – admits it’s a contentious issue.

“It’s a difficult one,” said the transportation minister, who’s attending the UBCM this week. “If you’re looking to cull a deer, you have to first ask, ‘Are there other options out there?’

“Let’s explore all the other options.

“If we are going to go through with it, let’s make sure we make the best of it – you can use the meat, you can feed people who are hungry.”