Letters to the Editor Respond to Sherwood Park News Editorial (full version)

A few days ago, we encouraged you to write to the Sherwood Park News in response to an editorial they wrote about the Heartland Transmission Lines. Thank you for rising to the challenge. The following two letters were published today, which clearly indicate why the Heartland Line needs to be an issue in the next provincial election.

Brenda Astle:

“Are you kidding? The only issues worth talking about in the search for a replacement for Sherwood Park MLA Iris Evans are the Heartland Transmission Project and the Strathcona Community Hospital (“Don’t talk to me about power lines, hospital,” Jan. 17 News).

We are in desperate need of an MLA that will represent the constituents of Sherwood Park and speak up for what we want.

Evans remained far too quiet on both issues when it would have counted most. Let’s not make that mistake with her replacement. We must continue to fight against this Heartland Transmission line.

It is far from a dead issue and I want to know what a new MLA will stand for on this issue.”

RETA’s own John Kristensen:

“The Jan. 17 column in the Sherwood Park News (“Don’t talk to me about power lines, hospital”) suggested that the decision on the Heartland Transmission Project has already been made and there’s no point discussing the matter any further, especially during the next few months leading up to a provincial election.

Wow. That’s a defeatist attitude. Yes, maybe the cards have been stacked against us as we have battled this unnecessary line during the past three-and-a-half years, and yes, maybe the public consultation and Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) hearing processes were shams, but we’re certainly not going to give up.

We, the County of Strathcona, and others have appeals before the AUC and the courts. The Critical Transmission Review Committee is reviewing the need for two new north-south high voltage lines, which could have huge implications on the Heartland line. One of the purposes of the Heartland line was to connect the two north-south lines, and if one of these is not built, the Heartland line will make no sense whatsoever.

But perhaps the most important reason we are not giving up, and which presents our biggest opportunity, is the provincial election sometime this spring.

The building of an overhead Heartland line, which will result in the closing of one of our longest-standing and most recognized schools, Colchester Elementary School, and will negatively affect thousands of County residents, is beyond a doubt the biggest issue to hit our community in years.

If that is not an election issue, I don’t know what is.

Every voter in Sherwood Park, Strathcona and the other constituencies to be crossed by the Heartland line should ask all of the candidates in the upcoming election, regardless of political stripe, to convince the Alberta government to either stop the Heartland line, or to bury it when it runs close to residential areas, schools and daycares.

It is the Alberta government that has been pushing for the line to be built in our community; passed Bill 50, which legislated the building of the line; removed the Heartland line from the review of other so-called “critical” lines, and gave the final sign-off for the line to be built in the Sherwood Park Greenbelt.

And that’s why the issue must be raised as the key issue by county residents leading up to and during the provincial election.”

~ by RETA on January 20, 2012.

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