AltaLink feels power line route through Pines best option

AltaLink is sticking to its position that its chosen power line route through the Pines is the best option. Residents in the north Red Deer neighbourhood have asked Alberta Utilities Commission to review its decision approving new transmission towers on an existing right-of-way.

AltaLink is sticking to its position that its chosen power line route through the Pines is the best option.

Residents in the north Red Deer neighbourhood have asked Alberta Utilities Commission to review its decision approving new transmission towers on an existing right-of-way.

The Pines Group, representing about 50 homeowners, want the higher voltage line and its larger towers relocated to below an escarpment. Red Deer city council endorsed that option.

Residents don’t feel their suggestion was given serious consideration by the company at hearings held earlier this year in Red Deer.

AltaLink spokesman Peter Brodsky disagrees.

“I don’t think that characterizes completely the relationship we had with the Pines residents and the number of times we did speak to them about their concerns,” he said on Wednesday.

Residents were brought up to speed through newsletters and consulted at several open houses and through other means before the company picked its preferred and alternate routes.

“Our overall goal was to establish a low-impact route that made sense in terms of environment, cost, stakeholder input, all the usual things we look at when we establish a route,” Brodsky said.

“When we submitted to the AUC, we submitted a preferred route and we submitted an alternate route that definitely reflected input from the Pines neighbourhood.

“We feel we did right by the Pines residents in terms of addressing their concerns.”

The preferred route — which uses a power line right-of-way in place since the 1950s — remains the lowest impact route, he said.

It was chosen by the AUC over an alternate route that moved a portion of the power lines out of the Pines area, although not near as long a stretch as residents wanted.

The Pines Group served notice on Monday that it wanted AUC to review its approval of AltaLink’s route in their area.

Residents want commission members to visit the site and get a clearer understanding of why homeowners want the line moved.

An air of urgency hangs over the request because AltaLink has begun marking areas of brush and trees to be cut back for the new towers.

AUC has yet to decide if it will agree to a review.

The Pines power line upgrades are part of a $350-million overhaul of transmission infrastructure in Central Alberta.

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