AUC Heartland Hearing – Day 14

Cross examination of the Applicants by a Village on the Lake, Strathcona County resident dominated May 2.  Several errors were pointed out in the CVs of Heartland Project Team panel members.

AltaLink provided a summary of the events leading up to the failed Edmonton-Calgary transmission line application in 2007. The hearing conducted by the Alberta Energy Utilities Board was contentious with landowners becoming very frustrated and upset with the whole process. Security tightened as the hearing proceeded, to the point where it really was not an open and transparent hearing any more. As a result of security issues, including investigators spying on concerned landowners, the process was terminated, and the matter went to court.

Many residents have lived in Sherwood Park and rural Strathcona County long before the Greenbelt or Restricted Development Area (RDA) was designated, and many more lived there before the Alberta Government quietly developed a Transportation Utility Corridor (TUC) policy in 1994, which unilaterally changed use of the Greenbelt. Residents were not involved in, or notified about, this policy change which did not affect the original legislation that established the RDA. As a result, Strathcona residents do not recognize the Alberta Government’s attempt to redesignate the RDA as a TUC (through policy).

Increasing the size of the RDA and Refinery Row infrastructure by building an overhead Heartland line in the Sherwood Park Greenbelt was discussed within the context of potentially creating a larger target for possible terrorist activities.

Urban and rural residents have been consulted differently by the Applicants, which was challenged as being unfair. Rural residents living within 800m of the proposed line were consulted one-on-one, while only urban residents who live along the front row of houses near the power line were consulted in this manner. As well, the Applicants were criticized for recognizing only “residences” (homes), whereas, the AUC indicates “residents” who are directly and adversely affected must be consulted. There are close to 5,200 residences within 800m of the Applicants’ preferred route, whereas there are 15,000 to 18,000 residents.

The mailout errors made in January 2010 were raised again. Many residents living along the Applicants’ preferred or alternate routes had received incorrect notification that the route near them was not being considered anymore. Errors were also pointed out in the Applicants’ mailout and landowner consultation lists.

~ by RETA on May 3, 2011.

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