Linda Osinchuk, former Mayor of Strathcona County and current Wildrose candidate for the Sherwood Park constituency, says the Heartland Transmission Line, constructed by AltaLink and EPCOR, is unnecessary.
Specifically, in a February 6, 2015 ad in the Sherwood Park News, the Wildrose candidate is quoted as saying, “All we got is a glorified medicentre and unnecessary overhead 500 kV transmission lines which we are now paying for from our pockets. These lines were the cause of the closure of a viable elementary school, Colchester. The provincial government presently in power is responsible for these decisions. We deserve better!”
The overhead Heartland Transmission Line, a double-circuit 500 kV line and the tallest high voltage line ever built in Alberta, with towers up to 77 metres (253 feet) tall, was completed and energized on December 28, 2013. The line directly and negatively impacts 5,280 homes, several schools and many businesses. Construction of the line forced the closure of Colchester Elementary School and it cost the Alberta Government at least $21 million to relocate about 185 students. Parents were not willing to risk the health of their children by sending them to Colchester School with the overhead 500 kV Heartland line only 140 metres from the school property.
Thousands of residents, many community organizations (including RETA), Strathcona County Council, many businesses and industries, school boards and others opposed the overhead Heartland line, arguing that it was not needed, but that if it was going to get built, it must be buried wherever it ran next to homes, schools or environmentally sensitive areas.
Unfortunately, in 2009 the Alberta Government legislated the building of the Heartland line under Bill 50, the Electric Statutes Amendment Act, which forced the line upon the public regardless of the need, along with several other high voltage lines including ATCO’s Eastern Alberta Transmission Line and AltaLink’s Western Alberta Transmission Line. AltaLink and EPCOR recommended, and the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) approved, construction of the monster overhead Heartland lines in the Edmonton and Sherwood Park Greenbelts, where negative impacts were higher than along other proposed routes. The AUC approved construction of the Heartland line even though there were no customers for the dirty coal-fired electricity transmitted by the line.
We agree with Wildrose candidate Linda Osinchuk when she says the Heartland Transmission Line is unnecessary. Many have characterized the overhead Heartland line as one of the biggest mistakes the Alberta P.C. Government, the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO), the AUC, AltaLink and EPCOR have ever made.
For more information on the controversial Heartland line, see this link and many other RETA blogs and “Latest News” posts. This link provides facts on the many negative impacts of overhead high voltage lines. See http://lindaosinchuk.ca/ for more information on Linda Osinchuk’s campaign.