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City Council to oppose the ground transmission line

13 August 2009 698 views No Comment

The plug should be pulled on a controversial plan to run a massive, overhead power line within city limits, says a councillor.

Coun. Karen Leibovici is bringing forward a motion to council later this month that will oppose such high-voltage, above-ground lines.

It comes among massive public outcry from west-end residents who fear the double-circuit 500 Kv line will cause serious illness to those living nearby and force home values to plummet. They want to see the line run underground.

“I don’t believe there’s anything of that size that’s been built anywhere in Canada and maybe even North America,” said Leibovici of the proposed line.

The west-end representative said she wants to amend an earlier council motion that simply expressed concern about the project.

“I’m hoping we will be able to change that motion from ‘concerned’ to ‘against’ having power lines of that magnitude built within an urban corridor.”

The proposed Heartland Transmission Project would see the construction of a high-voltage transmission line to the power-hungry Heartland region northeast of Fort Saskatchewan. There are two potential routes — one on the west side and another on the east.

The lines could run either within or outside the Transportation Utility Corridor. In the west end, the Anthony Henday runs along the corridor.

The plan is being proposed by the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO), the province’s transmission system planner.

‘NOT AGAINST PROGRESS’

“We’re not against progress and we’re not against industry,” said Carol Eigenseher, a Wedgewood Heights resident and member of the West End Coalition Against the Heartland Transmission Project. “We understand Alberta needs to grow and prosper and that industry is a big part of that and so is power.

“But we do want responsible transmission.”

Construction on the line could start as early as 2011, if approved by the Alberta Utilities Commission, according to officials.

Neil Brausen, director of system planning with AESO, said ultimately it would also be up to the commission to decide on whether an above-ground line would be permitted.

PASSED A RESOLUTION

Earlier this year, Strathcona County passed a resolution to allow high-voltage power lines there only if they are buried.

The AESO and the province are looking into the feasibility of burying at least a portion of the Heartland line.

Eigenseher’s group is holding a public meeting Sept. 21, 7 p.m. at the West Edmonton Christian Assembly, 6315 199 St.

FRANK.LANDRY@SUNMEDIA.CA

By FRANK LANDRY, CITY HALL BUREAU

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