AltaLink has been criticized in the past by many Albertans and community organizations for its biased open houses and flawed public consultation processes when it comes to dealing with residents, landowners and businesses negatively impacted by AltaLink’s new overhead transmission lines. David McIntyre, a Crowsnest Pass, Alberta resident and scientist, has recently questioned whether “AltaLink is honest and trustworthy”, and whether “its process of public engagement is just and legitimate”. Mr. McIntyre submitted the following letter to RETA, which we have printed in its entirety below. The letter clearly reflects what RETA has heard from many other Albertans during the past 7 years.
“The attached letter—it might be entitled Assessing AltaLink—presented here in shortened form to remove the name of a third party individual, was sent to AltaLink following the company’s presentation of meeting minutes that, in the opinion of participants, fell far short in presenting a meaningful rendering of actual outcomes. The meetings addressed a proposed $750-million overhead transmission line from Pincher Creek to Crowsnest Pass.
The letter to AltaLink:
I’ve read AltaLink-recorded minutes from two December (2014) meetings, and AltaLink-recorded minutes from another event, an open house in Lundbreck.
There are, as reported to me by several participants, more than a few factual errors in one of the December meeting minutes and, in all cases, the minutes present a profound and distorted—decidedly pro-AltaLink—rendering of the actual dialogue and outcomes.
I don’t see any value in trying to correct the minutes at this late date, but wish to reflect the fact that I am disturbed that AltaLink, seemingly present to record full-spectrum concerns and the essence of full-dialogue discourse, failed miserably in recording the voices and concerns of the AltaLink-threatened populace. Other participants have expressed similar concerns.
My thought: The distributed minutes create the on-paper impression that AltaLink, an unassailable authority on the land and over the people, was kind enough to listen to, and quickly squelch, all of the populace’s silly and/or ill-founded concerns.
AltaLink’s presence—it turns lives upside down—threatens life, lifestyles, and quality-of-life issues. The name AltaLink fosters fear and feelings of despair. Lifelong dreams and investments are on the chopping block.
AltaLink’s open houses and various other meetings cost residents dearly in terms of time, energy, money, unwanted travel and extreme stress. Worse, the open houses allow AltaLink, an outsider, to come in and, for a day or two, take over our community and “invite us” to come in and see how the company plans to degrade, and potentially destroy, an iconic Alberta landscape … and everything we’ve worked to achieve by making this landscape our home.
It would appear that residents participating in these exchanges—as long as the populace is trapped in this pro-AltaLink, discriminatory process of “engagement”—need to, in addition to being present, assume the role of recording the outcomes of these meetings. This would appear to be the only way to ensure that a clear and honest record exists.
Another alternative: hire a third-party to record meeting minutes.
What I’m addressing, more than the need for factual reporting, are the issues of honesty and trust.
Does anyone other than AltaLink feel that AltaLink is honest and trustworthy, or that its process of public engagement is just and legitimate?