Red Deer County’s Kurt Kure bought 140 acres of scenic land near Dickson Dam to build a home for his wife and 11 children.
Kure wasn’t pleased when he found out a 500-kilovolt power line would become his new neighbour.
Earlier this month, he was contacted by consultants for AltaLink, who wanted access to his land to prepare the way for the river crossing of the new power line known as the Western Alberta Transmission Line.
“We had bought this property to build a house,” he said on Monday. “AltaLink has known that from the very beginning.”
The family already has 26 towers on 1,600 acres it farms in the area.
On Sept. 2, Kure and his lawyer Donald Bur, an Ontario lawyer well versed in Alberta’s power line politics, will seek to have a Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench justice overturn the Alberta Surface Rights Board-issued Right of Entry Order.
Kure and his legal representative will argue that the board has no jurisdiction in this case because they claim the line is for interprovincial and export use, which puts it out of the board’s authority.
That the line being built from Genesee, near Edmonton, to Langdon, near Calgary, is not needed and is a thinly disguised attempt to build a profit-making export line to the U.S. has been a recurring theme among those opposed to the $1.65-billion project.
The impending sale of AltaLink to U.S.-based Berkshire Hathaway Energy in a $3.2-billion deal only strengthens that prospect, said Kure.
The provincial government, AltaLink, the Alberta Utilities Commission and Alberta Electric System Operator, which oversees the province’s power grid, have all denied the line is meant for export. Instead, they maintain the line is needed to upgrade an out-of-date power grid in a fast-growing province.
Kure is among those who say the need for the line was never proven. Kurt, his father, Colin, and grandfather Elmer all signed up as intervenors when the first hearings were held on the power line almost a decade ago.
Kure is hoping the judge agrees with them and rules the surface rights board overstepped its authority.
He has no doubt even a positive outcome would be followed up by an appeal from the other side.
Ultimately, the issue needs to be addressed at a higher level, where the intended use of the line can be determined once and for all, he said.
AltaLink spokesman Scott Schreiner said the line is located in Alberta for Albertans.
The Alberta Utilities Commission ruled conclusively on the line’s purpose as a means to bolster the province’s infrastructure during the facilities application process.
“This line has been looked at often for the last five to eight years and has been determined to be built for the benefit of Albertans and is an entirely Alberta-focused facility,” said Schreiner.