New Schools Open While Colchester School Will Close

Today’s front-page story in the Edmonton Journal reports the Redford team taking credit for the opening of four new schools in Edmonton that were actually promised under the Stelmach regime. The real irony is, four new schools will be opening next week, while the P.C. government has put the nails in the coffin of Colchester Elementary School in the County of Strathcona.

The massive double-circuit 500 kilovolt Heartland power line will be built above ground within about 140m of Colchester School by AltaLink, Quebec-based SNC-Lavalin and EPCOR, with the strong support of the P.C. government, the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) and the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC). School parents have voted overwhelmingly that they will not send their children to the school because they do not want to jeopardize their health and safety. With the line this close to the school, they have repeatedly asked that the line be buried to eliminate the reported negative health and safety impacts of an overhead line.

Unfortunately, the P.C. government, the AESO, AUC, AltaLink, SNC-Lavalin and EPCOR do not want to bury the line, not even a short section that is currently being built close to Colchester School and about 5,200 homes. As a result, the school will be closing once the Heartland line is completed. This is a travesty considering that close to 200 students attend the school, the school has been very well maintained, and it has one of the finest reputations within the Elk Island Public Schools system.

Another sad irony of this story is that current Education Minister Jeff Johnson, who is beaming with the announcement of the four new schools opening next week, was Infrastructure Minister when he signed off on approving the building of the overhead Heartland power line in the Edmonton and Sherwood Park greenbelts. Many of his own constituents in the constituency of Athabasca-Sturgeon-Redwater in east Sturgeon County will have the 77-metre-tall Heartland towers and lines crossing their private properties. RETA will be challenging his authority to approve the project before the courts in November.

~ by RETA on August 28, 2012.

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