Man fighting AltaLink appears in court

A Red Deer County landowner fighting to keep a transmission tower off a scenic site he chose for a future home must now wait to see if a judge agrees.

A Red Deer County landowner fighting to keep a transmission tower off a scenic site he chose for a future home must now wait to see if a judge agrees.

Kurt Kure and his Toronto lawyer Donald Bur were in a Red Deer courtroom on Tuesday for a judicial review of a Right of Entry Order issued by the province’s Surface Rights Board. The order allows AltaLink to go ahead and position a tower on Kure’s land located just downstream of the Dickson Dam.

If allowed to go ahead, the tower will ruin a site he has picked out for a new home for his wife and 11 children, said Kure.

The engineering consultant is fighting the Right of Entry Order on the grounds the Surface Rights Board overstepped its jurisdiction because the 350-km transmission line being built to link power generators at Genessee, southwest of Edmonton, to Langdon, east of Calgary, will ultimately serve as an interprovincial and export line.

The Surface Rights Board only has authority over power lines for the province.

Kure said the four-hour hearing before Justice Kirk Sisson did not result in a decision. That is expected to come later this month or in October.

He was pleased that the judge appeared to be taking their arguments seriously and did not make a snap decision.

“We were just looking for a fair hearing and I think we got it,” he said.

He wasn’t sure what to expect after a similar hearing in Calgary triggered by the objections of a Carstairs landowner got nowhere with the presiding judge.

AltaLink, which will build and operate the $1.3-billion line has repeatedly assured that the line is meant only to reinforce aging transmission infrastructure in a fast-growing province.

The Alberta Utilities Commission approved the project based on the same premise.

Jill Mason, director for the Surface Rights Board, said its lawyer presented a brief to the court but could not elaborate further.

“The matter is now before the court and we are awaiting the decision,” Mason said.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

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