AUC Heartland Hearing – Day 7

DND Radio Receiver Site More Important Than Homes, Schools, Daycares and Hospitals

Cross-examination continued on April 19 of Applicant experts on Department of National Defence (DND) Riverbend Radio Receiver Site interference along the Applicants’ preferred route. It appears that DND requires a 1.6-kilometre safe distance from overhead high voltage power lines, whereas AltaLink has determined they should be 3.95 kilometres away. This poses problems for neighbouring landowners who would be directly impacted by a Heartland line skirting around the DND site by this much.

It is most ironic that the Applicants are more than willing to move the proposed Heartland line much further away from this radio receiver site than requested by DND to ensure there is absolutely no radio interference whatsoever caused by overhead power line noise, whereas the Applicants have no concerns about building an overhead 500kV line next to 5,200 homes (15,000 people) and 8 schools, daycares and hospitals.

Lawyers for another group of rural landowners north of the North Saskatchewan River along the Applicants’ preferred route questioned the education and credentials of the AltaLink Manager of Project Siting. Questions were asked about why the many factors considered in the Applicants’ route selection process were not statistically weighted considering that some factors were obviously more important than others. The Applicants said they just wanted to present the raw data and made subjective value judgments on what was important and what was not;  and they would leave it up to others to assign weighting to the various factors if they so wished. (Without statistical weighting, the Applicants considered native vegetation located on the power line centre line as importantly as number of homes within 800m of the line.)

Once again, the Applicants admitted that their 150-metre impact zone was selected arbitrarily by AltaLink, and the cross-examiner suggested that this “impact distance” could just as easily have been 200m or 250m. The Applicants chose not to consider visual impacts of an overhead line in their final table that summarized the various categories of potential impacts. AltaLink admitted that their preferred route would be closer to many more homes and people than would the alternate route.

It was also clear during cross-examination that the Applicants’ primary criterion for selecting the Edmonton and Sherwood Park Greenbelts as their preferred route was because the Alberta Government had recently started calling this a Transportation Utility Corridor (TUC) even though 1974 legislation refers to it as a Restricted Development Area. (TUC signs were first erected along the Sherwood Park Greenbelt by the provincial government in late 2007.)

~ by RETA on April 20, 2011.

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