Groups grill AltaLink over line’s impact on housing

Concerns about a power line project’s impact on residential development were raised during the fourth day of a public hearing being held in Red Deer.

Concerns about a power line project’s impact on residential development were raised during the fourth day of a public hearing being held in Red Deer.

The Alberta Utilities Commission’s hearing on AltaLink’s project between the Calgary and Edmonton areas continued on Tuesday with several groups expressing concerns about routing in the Langdon area, the most southerly part of the project.

Calgary lawyer Johanna Price, representing some landowners between the Kathryn and Langdon areas and known as the PLH Group, asked about the impact a line could have on housing.

She asked if there are more country residential homes or homes in general that will be directly impacted if the transmission line (preferred/alternate route) is constructed between Kathryn and Langdon.

Hudson Foley, director of siting for AltaLink, agreed there are a number of country residences on that route.

The preferred/alternate route is one section of the project where the preferred route and alternate route are essentially the same.

Her group would rather see the Langdon Option, located east of this preferred/alternate route, go ahead.

Price also raised issues over future residential development that could be affected by a power line coming through nearby.

She said that Foley had acknowledged that 90 homes would exist within 800 metres of the transmission line, plus several homes within 200 metres.

“I haven’t acknowledged that,” replied Foley. “I’ve acknowledged a plan has been approved, that there may be at some point some homes built there. . . but as it stands now, it does not.”

AltaLink applied to the utilities commission to construct a high-voltage 500 kV (500,000 volts) transmission line, connecting the Genesee area west of Edmonton to the Langdon area east of Calgary.

The preferred route is generally on the west side of Hwy 2 while the alternate is mainly on the east side.

But there are points along the way where there are options to both the alternate and preferred routes.

In total, there are six main alternatives — Eckville, Crossfield Tie Option, West of Crossfield, Kathryn, Langdon, Pine Lake — within the project. The Kathryn and Langdon options occur on both the preferred and alternate routes, but the others are on either of those main routes.

There’s also 35 smaller site-specific options where a route may jog around a wellsite, small wetlands, and the like.

AltaLink spokesman Scott Schreiner said these smaller site-specific options, plus six alternatives, were created as a result of either consultation with landowners or a review of environmentally sensitive area, visual impacts, or the like. They may move away from a house, a wetland or a treed area, or as a way to cut costs.

“Those alternatives are usually very short duration — and stay along the general preferred or alternate (route),” said Schreiner on Tuesday.

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