AltaLink’s New Proposed Route for Pincher Creek Area Power Line Worse than First Proposal
MD of Pincher Creek Councillor Terry Yagos says AltaLink’s new suggested route for their 240 kV and 500 kV Castle Rock Ridge to Chapel Rock Transmission Project is an even worse proposal than the proposed north route because it has as many if not more drawbacks.
RETA reported November 23, 2014 on AltaLink’s earlier (northern) proposed route which drew strong criticism from local environmental experts and the Livingstone Landowners Group (LLG). Local scientist David McIntyre indicated there would be major environmental impacts if this route was selected, and the LLG said they want the lines located and designed in ways that limit visual intrusions, preferably underground. Both indicated they want AltaLink to comply with the recently-released South Saskatchewan Regional Plan.
A group of landowners concerned about AltaLink’s latest proposed route met February 1 and said the wildlife corridors in their area were critical and would be negatively affected. Yagos reminded the group there are several environmental easements and agreements along this proposed route and the Nature Conservancy of Canada owns land in the area. The group is also concerned about the up to 120-metre-wide right-of-way that would need to be cleared of all trees for the new transmission lines. They’re worried about visual impacts of the overhead towers and lines which would seriously compromise stunning landscape views. (Many people describe transmission towers and conductors as “unsightly” or “ugly”.)
The LLG described the proposed routes as pretty vague at this point, and was also critical of the project being considered at this particular time when the economic circumstances do not justify a project of this scope. In fact, the group doesn’t think the line is necessary at all. Bill Trafford, VP of the LLG, pointed out the change of ownership of AltaLink from scandal-plagued SNC-Lavalin to U.S.-based Berkshire Hathaway Energy, and raised concerns about the guaranteed financial returns to the U.S. energy giant while Albertans would suffer.
It’s worth noting that Bruce Mowat, an LLG Director, said a few months ago that AltaLink would try to pit neighbour against neighbour, and try to get people fighting over different routes. He had said then that landowners should not fall for AltaLink’s tactics, but rather should work together on a common approach.
To repeat our November 23 blog on this issue, AltaLink has a long history of flawed public consultation regarding siting and construction of their electricity transmission infrastructure – see this link for many more examples. Read these RETA blogs about another AltaLink overhead transmission line in the Pincher Creek area that has killed hundreds of birds.
This blog is based, in part, on news stories in Crowsnest Pass Herald and Pincher Creek Echo.