Public hearings on power line to continue

The Alberta Utilities Commission has rejected a bid to put on hold public hearings that began in Red Deer this week on a controversial $1.4-billion power line project.

The Alberta Utilities Commission has rejected a bid to put on hold public hearings that began in Red Deer this week on a controversial $1.4-billion power line project.

A lawyer for one of the landowner groups objecting to the Western Alberta Transmission Line had applied for an adjournment, arguing the hearing should not go ahead until the Alberta Court of Appeal has ruled on an issue that came out of the contentious Heartland power line hearings in Edmonton last year.

Since that decision may dictate the scope of how public interest should be considered by the three-member commission panel, the appeal court’s decision could directly affect the hearing that got underway on Monday, argued Gavin Fitch, who is representing the 566 Corridor Group.

Fitch told the panel on Tuesday there was a risk the public hearing process would have to start all over again if the appeal court ruled public interest had not been adequately addressed.

In a ruling released late Wednesday afternoon, the commission says it “believes that proceeding now is not a waste of time, it allows examination of the evidence already filed and will ultimately save time and reduce the prejudice to landowners who have had to wait many years for a resolution of this project.

“The parties are ready to go, the evidence is relevant regardless of the Alberta Court of Appeal decision . . .”

AltaLink spokesman Scott Schreiner said they are pleased with the decision and the opportunity to move the project forward.

“We agree with the AUC in their assessment that many landowners have been working and living with this project for a number of years and moving it forward is in the best interests of a number of these landowners at the same time.”

Commission spokesman Jim Law said the hearings will resume this morning at the Holiday Inn 67th Street, with AltaLink expected to discuss its proposal to build the 350-km north-south line from Genesee power generators southwest of Edmonton to Langdon near Calgary. It will then be cross-examined by intervenors and the commission.

Critics of the power line project call it an expensive over-build that is not needed.

AltaLink and the Alberta Electric System Operator, which oversees the province’s power grid, says the line is required to keep up with the province’s growth and ensure electricity supply remains reliable and cost-efficient.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

House prices in Alberta are going up in many communities, reports the ATB. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy)
Alberta’s house prices are on the rise: ATB

Supply has been low, relative to demand

The interchange at Highway 2 and McKenzie Road at the south end of Gasoline Alley is being redesigned with two roundabouts. Construction is expected to begin this month and finish in October. (Graphic from Red Deer County)
Roudabouts coming to McKenzie Road overpass at Gasoline Alley

Project expected to improve traffic flow at busy intersections

A federal strategy to preserve threatened trout could conflict with provincial coal leases in the Eastern Slopes of the Rockies. (Contributed photo by Jeff Lund).
Federal regulations could save Alberta’s bull trout by shutting down mining plans, says biologist

Ottawa’s new strategy identifies a 30-metre protected area along rivers and streams

A prairie fire in the Burnt Lake district. (Photo by Bert Fors via Red Deer Archives)
Michael Dawe: Fires of spring 1931 in central Alberta

Central Alberta has just come through a relatively warm and dry winter… Continue reading

Gwynne Dyer
Opinion: Boris Johnson is to blame for what’s happening in Ireland

Twenty-three years of peace in Northern Ireland, after a sectarian war that… Continue reading

Canada's Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes, fom left, celebrate after winning women's gold medal match against Brazil's team at the Beach Volley Worldtour Major Series, in Vienna, Austria on August 4, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Ronald Zak
Canada’s world champion beach volleyball duo finally getting games before Tokyo

Canada’s world champion beach volleyball duo finally getting games before Tokyo

Toronto Raptors center Khem Birch (24) gets fouled by Atlanta Hawks guard Bogdan Bogdanovic (13) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, April 13, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Bogdanovic, Capela lead Hawks past Raptors 107-103

Bogdanovic, Capela lead Hawks past Raptors 107-103

Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Hyun Jin Ryu throws to a New York Yankees batter during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, April 13, 2021, in Dunedin, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)
Ryu sharp into 7th, Semien homers as Blue Jays top Yanks 7-3

Ryu sharp into 7th, Semien homers as Blue Jays top Yanks 7-3

Calgary Flames' Johnny Gaudreau (13) scores the game winning goal on Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender David Rittich (33) in overtime NHL action in Toronto on Tuesday, April 13, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Gaudreau scores in overtime, Flames beat Maple Leafs 3-2

Gaudreau scores in overtime, Flames beat Maple Leafs 3-2

Jim Bullock, Vicki Pappas and Randy Waples off to Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame

Jim Bullock, Vicki Pappas and Randy Waples off to Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame

Canada's Evelyne Viens celebrates scoring against Wales during the women's international friendly soccer match at Leckwith Stadium, Wales, Friday April 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nick Potts/PA via AP
Canada capitalizes on England mistakes to win women’s soccer friendly 2-0

Canada capitalizes on England mistakes to win women’s soccer friendly 2-0

Most Read