AUC Heartland Hearing – Day 18


Landowners who live along the Applicants’ alternate route spent most of May 6 describing their concerns and frustration with the Applicants’ plans.

Farmers raised concerns about the proposed line interfering with their farming operations. It would be difficult to farm around these towers because of large tractors and equipment, and their GIS units could not be used in these situations. They were worried about power line construction activities spreading noxious weeds onto their land.

They spoke about proposed compensation being inadequate, and that Surface Rights Board legislation doesn’t really help landowners. Health, noise, aesthetic and property value concerns were raised by many landowners. Impacts on the natural environment, especially wetlands, were highlighted by several residents. They spoke about how their quality of life would be compromised, and the area would change overnight from peaceful rural to unsightly because of the magnitude of the Heartland project.

A number of landowners thought the line should be built in corridors established for such purposes, and their area had never been set aside for overhead power lines. One landowner suggested the best solution was to bury the line in the Applicants’ preferred route, and she was upset that the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) was not supportive of burying the line.

Residents were not convinced the line was needed and were very upset with Alberta Government legislation that has concentrated decision making for electricity transmission in the hands of the government at the exclusion of meaningful input from the public. They were upset that their MLA, Doug Horner, was not supporting them. They were concerned that Alberta ratepayers would be subsidizing the export of electricity from Alberta to California.

Many of the detailed routing decisions by the Applicants were made to avoid having to buy out landowners, and left them with these monster towers and lines on their properties with little compensation. One student characterized his presentation as a “Victim Impact Statement”, and described how the Applicants’ proposal had negatively affected his family because of all the time spent gathering information and helping to educate their neighbours.

Every presenter spoke about the Applicants’  flawed public consultation process. One resident said we “feel like cattle being herded through the chute”. Residents have been mislead and misinformed. The process was set up simply so the Applicants could say they had consulted, rather than to engage landowners. When information on health or any other matters was requested, nothing was provided in many cases. In other cases where some information was provided, it was one-sided and erroneously suggested there were no negative health, safety, property value or environmental impacts.

Several residents described the consultation as one-way, with the Heartland Team asking all of the questions but providing no responses to questions that were asked of them. Numerous residents were assured by Heartland Team staff that the line would not be built in the alternate route, so they really didn’t need  to worry. The alternate route had been moved so many times, residents were confused about where it actually is on a map. Some residents received letters indicating the route near them was not being considered anymore, only to find out later that the wrong letters had been sent to them.

Residents have became upset, frustrated, angry, resentful and disillusioned because of all of the time they have had to spend on this issue. They feel that they and their views are not important to the Applicants due to the way they have been treated. Many spoke about the stress it had caused to their families and how it was already negatively affecting their health.

~ by RETA on May 7, 2011.

%d bloggers like this: