At Home: Alberta homeowners deal with their own oil problem
Between the Gulf oil spill and Alberta’s oil sands, a lot of coverage focuses on the big events in the industry. But some Alberta homeowners have oil problems of their own: abandoned oil wells on their property.
As the Globe and Mail reports, Alberta is dotted with abandoned oil wells, and many of those wells have been taken off property records. That means ?land title searches don’t reveal them,? and unsuspecting homeowners could face relocation or plummeting property values.
Part of the problem is that Alberta law allows the wells ?to be taken off property records.? In 1999, the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) told municipalities that they were responsible for checking the location of abandoned wells. Town planners and developers were to contact the ERCB for that data.
Not all towns did so, however, and their lapse is affecting older homes as well as new neighbourhoods. One of those towns is Calmar, where the public works director sought out records and has so far found 19 abandoned wells. One of them was found to be ?leaking in a schoolyard.? The leaking wells not only affect existing properties, but could also pose a hazard if they’re damaged during construction work.
In Foreign News: Students? virtual chatroom to be scrapped
An ambitious new virtual-classroom project in Australia will be going ahead in September?but without its planned Facebook-style pages.
As The Age reports, the ultranet is a $77 million online network that will ?give parents round-the-clock access to their children’s lessons, homework, results and attendance.? The ultranet will be available by September in every state school in Victoria, the second-smallest state in the nation.
The project was slated to include an ?eXpress landing page? for every student. Similar in concept to a Facebook page, the eXpress landing page would have allowed students to have ?learning contacts? and to chat by posting wall messages.
However, concerns about the eXpress pages were raised in a privacy impact assessment commissioned by the Education Department. Helen Versey, the Victoria Privacy Commissioner, told reporters she shares the concerns over privacy. ?I have been advised that the department is addressing the privacy issues raised by the privacy impact assessment, which will result in some changes being made,? she said.
Although the ultranet can only be accessed by parents, teachers, and students, one potential problem of the eXpress pages is the growing problem of cyber bullying. Some research suggests that ?one in 10 students is bullied online or via other digital technology.?
Although eXpress pages will not be included in the project, students will still be able communicate online in ?collaborative learning spaces.? However, It’s believed any comments there will be moderated by teachers.