Ground Water Canada

Features Drilling
59th annual OGWA show

Fun, learning and networking

June 24, 2011  By Laura Aiken

The Ontario Ground Water Association (OGWA) hosted our industry for
three days of work and play at their 59th annual convention and trade

The Ontario Ground Water Association (OGWA) hosted our industry for three days of work and play at their 59th annual convention and trade show.

Left to right: Alex Wegenaar of The Drilling Depot, Vicky Toon of Heron Instruments and Brice Hietkamp of GeoKamp Services.


Kingston, Ont., provided a lively and scenic backdrop for the events unfolding at the Ambassador Conference Resort from May 26 to 28. The show kicked off Thursday morning with a round of golf at Westbrook Golf Club and an evening wine and cheese. Friday’s trade show offered the best possible admission price: Free. A variety of manufacturers and suppliers turned out to meet and greet with contractors strolling the floor. Technical seminars were ongoing. 

Over 100 people boarded a big boat Friday night for a scenic cruise around the Thousand Islands. Cool weather didn’t stop the laughter from rippling through the ship as industry members and their families enjoyed the merriment of Irish music from driller Johnny Wilson, a roast beef buffet and a steady flow of adult beverages.

Johnny Wilson of John B. Wilson & Son Well Drilling Ltd.
Kevin Constable representing CanWell 2012 (left) and Bill Morrison of Morrison Environmental Ltd.


Saturday morning may have come a little early for some after a night of whooping it up, but people were smiling into their coffees by the time the association division meetings kicked off at 8:30. Ground Water Canada sat in on the drillers and environmental/geotechnical drillers and the manufacturers and suppliers (M&S) division meetings. The drillers had a number of positive comments about the trade show while the M&S brought some big ideas to the table in their meeting to increase attendance when the show runs again in 2013. Next year’s gathering of industry in Ontario will be CanWell 2012, May 23 to 26 in Hamilton. The drillers’ industry concerns included the exposure of competitive business information through online well records that will be available soon and the need to increase communication because the public is more educated. The importance of having a health and safety manual was raised, as was what to do if detectable methane gas is detected (report to the Ministry of Environmental as soon as possible). The ongoing problem with unlicensed drillers was raised with the association’s full support for members to report these contractors to the association and they will handle it from there while keeping the member’s anonymity. Dialogue was opened on how to move forward in requiring geothermal drillers to have the same licensing requirements, as this remains high on the association’s agenda.

Last year the OGWA contributed supplies and cash to Lifewater Canada to assist in Haiti. The OGWA’s fundraising goal was $20,000 and this was exceeded, with a total of $24,200. This money helped with well construction for Haitians, who in turn named four of the wells OGWA wells.

The annual general meeting followed the division meetings, and was eagerly adjourned by rumbling bellies just past noon for lunch and an afternoon of either a tour of the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes or a Haunted Pub Walk. The convention was capped off with the evening’s president’s banquet and awards, silent auction and western dance.

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