No One Wants AltaLink’s Overhead Power Lines
As the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) hearing into AltaLink’s proposed overhead high voltage power lines and Hazelwood substation continued last week in Red Deer, Innisfail area residents and farmers blasted AltaLink (Innisfail Province). A group of 24 families, known as the Wachter group, provided the AUC with many reasons why the overhead line and substation should not be built on or near their land.
The group spoke about 5-generation families along one of the proposed power line routes who wanted to protect their land. The new line and towers would blight the landscape; some residents would be sandwiched between 2 high voltage lines if this one was approved; property values would fall by as much as 30%; a new line would disturb wildlife including foxes, bald eagles and burrowing owls; possibly bring in clubroot contamination rendering crops unsellable; the humming noise from a new substation and overhead lines would be an annoyance; and there would be negative health effects from the overhead line electromagnetic fields (EMFs), including increased leukemia risks.
Group members went on to say there had been misrepresentations by AltaLink during the consultation process, improper consultation by AltaLink officials, forged landowner signature on a document AltaLink submitted to the AUC, and trespass by surveyors who had not been given permission to enter private land. One group member did not trust AltaLink to look after their rights-of-way. He had won a land damage small claims case against the company years ago, but said AltaLink has not paid the amount required by law.
See this link for more information on concerns about AltaLink’s proposed new high voltage lines in the Innisfail area.
The types of concerns expressed by the Wachter group about AltaLink’s consultation process are fairly typical. RETA has been given similar accounts by many other landowners who have complained about AltaLink’s public consultation tactics, including intimidation, associated with other facility applications. RETA members have also witnessed such tactics directly at the 2011 AUC hearing on the overhead Heartland 500kV transmission line which has now been completed and energized. One such very serious incident is referenced at this link, where an AltaLink land agent actually threatened a landowner.