Power line proposal angers residents

Bob and Margaret Stevenson weren’t happy this week to learn that AltaLink had stuck to its plan to build a power line across from their West Park home.



Bob and Margaret Stevenson weren’t happy this week to learn that AltaLink had stuck to its plan to build a power line across from their West Park home.

While they suspect their concerns will fall on deaf ears, they don’t plan to give up their battle to get AltaLink to reconsider a small piece of its preferred route for a line being built as part of a 71-km overhaul of the line from Benalto through Red Deer to Nova Chemicals at Joffre.

A third stage of the project would see three new substations built in Ponoka, Innisfail and Didsbury and 15 km of new line in Lacombe among other improvements.

Near the Stevensons’ Wiltshire Boulevard home, a small jog in the line is planned taking it through a treed area nearby.

“Of course we weren’t happy,” said Margaret on Tuesday. “Three of the neighbours have been meeting together and met with AltaLink and gave them alternate proposals, which they rejected.”

The Stevensons don’t want to see trees removed and fear it will hurt property values, said Bob.

“Of course that’s why everybody gets up in arms. They don’t want anything in their own backyard.”

Although they expect AltaLink’s application will be a “done deal” the couple plan to voice their opposition to the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC), which has just received the company’s application.

“We’re going to take the process as far as we can,” said Bob.

AltaLink spokesman Peter Brodsky said the company had to move off the existing right-of-way for a stretch near the Stevensons because sometime during the 1970s a home and garage were built underneath the line.

“We certainly weren’t going to build a new transmission line over an existing residence,” said Brodsky.

When choosing a route, AltaLink considers residents’ wishes, cost, environmental impact among other factors.

“Together we take all those factors and choose what we consider the preferred route. Our preferred route doesn’t always reflect the exact desires of the people we consult.”

In the Pines neighbourhood, the north-south section of line in that area will run along the existing right-of-way, although some residents had hoped it could be moved closer to Riverside Drive.

That option would have involved additional cost and more tree cutting, but remains as an alternate route, said Brodsky.

It will be up to the AUC to make the final decision on which routes are approved.

AUC spokesman Jim Law said the application has been received but is not yet been considered complete. Once it has, the commission will advertise the application and hold a public information session to explain the process and options for comment for affected landowners.

A public hearing will likely be called if there are unresolved issues.

If approved, construction could begin on the project in mid-2014 and would be completed about 14 months later.


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