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UN Security Council debate on the line and power line

11 September 2009 930 views No Comment

Fort Saskatchewan city council found itself Tuesday night joining the growing debate over where a high-voltage power line should be built saying they don’t want it cutting through a yet-to-be-developed east-end industrial area.

Two of the four options for the proposed heartland transmission line project would cut through the city’s east end, possibly inhibiting the growth of the planned industrial area, council heard from administration Tuesday night.

Epcor and AltaLink are planning to build a double-circuit, 500-kV power line between Lake Wabumun and the Fort Saskatchewan area.

On Tuesday, council passed a resolution saying the line should be located, at least, east of the existing rail corridor, which would place it in Strathcona County. The resolution also says the power line should avoid areas like the North Saskatchewan River valley and the Beaver Hills moraine.

Without saying it specifically, the resolution essentially directs that the line should be run northwest of Edmonton, through Sturgeon County, or through Strathcona County to the industrial heartland.

After a request by Coun. Don Westman to directly include the northwest routing recommendation in the resolution, city manager Dave Dubauskas indicated that the resolution was carefully worded to avoid saying the line should be built in a specific municipality, especially considering both Sturgeon and Strathcona are neighbours and partners in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association.

Coun. Gale Katchur wondered about including a statement saying the line should be built underground like some other municipalities have done, most notably Edmonton last week.

But the city’s general manager of public works and engineering Chris Cambridge said there’s little evidence to prove that burying the line underground would reduce any potential health hazards. Even then, he added, the health hazards posed by power lines have strong arguments on both sides. An underground line would also cost up to 10 times the cost of the conventional tower approach, he added.

“I’m not sure if that would kill the project or make everybody’s power bills go through the roof,” Cambridge said.

cmacmillan@bowesnet.com

Posted By Conal MacMillan / Record Staff

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