A haunted barn and the Halloween Terror Trail

Flatlander readers share their Halloween stories, as well as their thoughts on lithium mining in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Hello Flatlanders,

Last week, I asked people to share their Halloween stories. This is what people wrote:

Gordon wrote:

“Got a haunted barn across the highway from me… they say some cowboys killed a sheep herder in the middle of the winter… They couldn’t bury him cause the ground was frozen… they took him home. The sheep barn was warm…they planted him there.”

Ron wrote: 

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Our Prairie stories.

“When we were kids living in Brooklands in Winnipeg there was an old house in the next block over where we swore a dead guy lived (hey we were like seven). We would crawl through the ditches from a block away to try to look into his window to see him. You started a block away so the dead guy wouldn’t see you and kill you of course. WELL one night we ACTUALLY SAW THE DEAD GUY sitting right there on his kitchen chair!!!. Man you never saw three kids run without actually touching the ground before.”

Tanya wrote:

“I remember growing up on the CFS Dana base in Saskatchewan and hearing from other kids that in and around the forest of Big Bear Street there was a dead body somewhere. So that street always felt a little ominous to me!”

Note: Canadian Forces Station Dana (CFS Dana) was a military radar station northeast of Saskatoon in the Rural Municipality of Bayne. It closed in the late 1980s.

A silhouette of a witch against a green house in a Halloween-themed photo.
Getty Images.

The Halloween Terror Trail

And Penny wrote in to tell us about the Halloween Terror Trail at Pike Lake, which is about a 40-minute drive from Saskatoon. 

She says:

“A family puts this on every year, they used to do it on their own private property, however, it has gotten so popular, it has now been moved into the park! They are amazing! Most of the actors are students getting in their volunteer hours for high school grad.”

It’s not too late to share your Halloween stories. I will send out a longer Halloween issue before Oct. 31. 

Five stories you may have missed in Manitoba

  1. The Winnipeg Police have created their own newsletter on Substack in an effort to rebuild public trust. 
  2. Foursome from Saskatchewan and Manitoba busted for illegally hunting moose
  3. Winnipeg swings from historic drought last year to wettest year on record in 2022
  4. The heist that tore apart a Manitoba community—and exposed eroding faith in municipal governments across the country
  5. A hotter, wetter climate is threatening the future of Canadian roads. Cities like Winnipeg are racing against time — and budgets — to deal with the problem.

Five stories you may have missed in Saskatchewan

  1. ‘Saviour for the world:’ Saskatchewan fills resource gaps caused by war in Ukraine
  2. Saskatchewan man who called for genocide against Jews given one-year sentence
  3. A police informant central to a massive Sask. organized crime bust has died. Here’s the inside story
  4. Sask. government poised to sell off remaining public liquor stores
  5. Grey Cup tickets appearing for resale, still no halftime show announced

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ICYMI: The Flatlander just finished a five-part series on lithium mining. You can read the whole series here.

More readers weigh in on the topic of lithium mining

Brenda writes:

“I do not believe mining Lithium is better than oil industries; this is a government sell out…  it will not benefit the poor, middle-income, or seniors… the government is to help the people, which by the way are paid by the people, not to fill huge corporations’ pockets.”

Lithium ore passes through a separation process at a plant. Lithium mining may be the next big industry in Saskatchewan.
Lithium ore passes through a separation process at a plant. Lithium mining may be the next big industry in Saskatchewan.Carla Gottgens/GETTY IMAGES.

Patrick writes:

“Mining is an important part of the economies of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Without thriving industries, and the employment they provide, there is no tax base to pay for the government services, including the creation and management of parks, education and health care, among many, many services that our governments choose to go into significant debt to provide. 
Nopiming Park is a multi-use park that was designed to accommodate the needs of industry and cottagers, while extending a significant degree of preservation north from the Whiteshell Park towards Atikaki Park.    
Manitoba has an abundance of parks, particularly in boreal forest areas. The area north of farmland in QC, MB, SK & AB is all boreal forest and is sparsely populated throughout. There is no boreal forest preservation crisis.  Nopiming has successfully accommodated resource development that includes small footprint mining and much larger footprint forestry, as well as tourism, cottage use, and habitat protection…

… resource exploration requires access for heavy equipment and to expose outcrop so that technical work can be completed such as geological mapping and drilling. Exploration is the often decades-long process that precedes rare development, only one out of 100-1000 exploration properties are ever considered for development.  Many of the newest mines are the product of decades of exploration through multiple up-cycles in the market… Clearings for trails, trenches and drill rig setups will naturally reseed and reforest on their own, and do… 

Current regulations require that tailings ponds are designed to isolate drainage by the integration of wetland filtration, that waste piles and other disturbances are eventually contoured and reseeded, and water drainage is constantly tested to ensure no freshwater contamination is created. In the case of lithium mining in Nopiming Park, those mines are non-acid generating, meaning that there are no sulfides that can create acidic groundwater conditions in tailings ponds. They mine chemically inert silicates, recover the minerals with lithium, tantalum, etc. and the non-economic minerals are put into piles for future remediation. If you have to have a mine, a pegmatite mine is probably the most ideal from an environmental risk standpoint.

According to the Snow Lake Lithium website, on Feb 1, 2022, they announced the first phase of a pre-feasibility study, not a feasibility study.  There are significant differences but primarily a pre-feasibility is a first attempt to get a sense of its economic viability: Much more work is required to consider the expense of a feasibility study.  It might help to review this article on the lifecycle of a mine – years, if not decades of exploration are required before a company will consider moving forward towards development, and even then, they typically go through 5-10 years (or more) of preliminary economic assessment (PEA), pre-feasibility studies and then feasibility studies…

It is encouraging to hear that the lithium development is moving forward in Manitoba beyond early-stage exploration. However, while lithium batteries are the obvious choice at the present time, they have operational limits that are preventing what would otherwise be a broader acceptance of electric vehicles due to the range limitations that require frequent and time-consuming recharging. There does not appear to be a technological fix to lithium battery limitations. I am personally vested in this issue as a recent owner of a hybrid vehicle. What is more likely is a switch to an alternative battery with improved performance, such as the neodymium batteries currently under investigation.  A transition of this nature will no doubt have a significant negative impact on lithium development (most neodymium production comes from China) and its downstream commercial industries: some will pivot, others will fail.”

In other news

  • Check out this Flatlander Twitter thread about the havoc caused by a winter storm in southern Saskatchewan last Sunday. Visit The Flatlander Instagram to see photos.
  • I was invited on the CJTR’s radio show Toast and Coffee to talk about The Flatlander. It’s episode 10 if you want to listen to it. 
  • Also, The Flatlander is putting together a holiday gift guide featuring must-haves from around Saskatchewan and Manitoba. If your business has a product you think must be featured, contact sales@theflatlander.ca

Until next time…

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Thanks for reading, and kind regards,

Kelly-Anne Riess

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