Responsible Electricity Transmission for Albertans
Sherwood Park Residents Angry About Power Line
The Edmonton Journal reports that PC candidate Cathy Olesen will have to overcome determined opponents and a controversial track record dating back to her time as Mayor of Strathcona County if she is to become Sherwood Park’s next MLA. The article reads, “As some observers have suggested, the vote in Sherwood Park could be seen as a referendum on Olesen, as well as on PC representation in general.”
Political followers in Sherwood Park say Olesen lost to Linda Osinchuk in the 2010 mayoralty race because she was unwilling to speak up on behalf of her constituents and criticize the provincial government when Sherwood Park was being treated unfairly. While Olesen was Mayor, many residents said Sherwood Park was being ignored by the Alberta PC government, even though there were two PC MLAs representing the County of Strathcona – Iris Evans and Dave Quest.
Wildrose candidate Garnett Genuis said residents are angry about two local issues in particular: the slow progress of opening the Strathcona County Hospital, and a decision to build the Heartland transmission line above ground. Both controversies can be blamed on the Tories, and Olesen has shown little willingness to publicly challenge her party, said Genuis. “Questions about some aspects of her record are a factor (in the campaign)…people want someone who will stand up strongly for them”, he said. Genuis has told residents, “I’m not going to be quiet about the interests of this community.”
Sherwood Park residents are particularly angry that the PC government passed Bill 50 which legislated the building of the Heartland 500kV power line, exempted all high voltage power lines from the environmental impact assessment process, has pressured AltaLink and EPCOR to build the Heartland line in the Sherwood Park Greenbelt, refuses to support burying the line, and even interfered with the quasi-judicial AUC hearing process to push the Heartland line forward. Both PC MLAs Iris Evans and Dave Quest have defended their party regarding the building of the Heartland line.
In total, there are 7 candidates vying for the Sherwood Park seat: Garnett Genuis (Wildrose), Dave Anderson (Liberal), Chris Kuchmak (Alberta Party), Lyndsay Pinder (NDP), Gordon Barrett (Social Credit), Jim Ford (Independent), and Cathy Olesen (PC).
Genuis is the only candidate who listed electricity issues among his top 3 priorities in the Journal Sherwood Park profile. He wants to “Stop the Heartland Transmission Line and support a redesign of Alberta’s electricity transmission and pricing system.” Wildrose leader Danielle Smith has said the Heartland line will be cancelled if the Wildrose Party forms the next government. Genuis and the Wildrose have clearly stated that this line is unnecessary. Of course…RETA could not agree more.