Strathcona County opposes powerlines, buried or not
The mayor of Strathcona County says they will be in for the fight of their lives as they've decided they are opposed to new powerlines, buried or not, that are part of the Heartland Transmission Project.
The Heartland Transmission Project involves the construction of a high voltage transmission line, which will connect the Heartland region, northeast of Fort Saskatchewan to existing transmission facilities.
The project's preferred route is the east side of Edmonton. At first, Strathcona County wasn't opposed to the lines as long as they were buried, but now, the county has shifted its stance.
"We've broaden our discussion and our fight to move west," said Strathcona County Mayor Linda Osinchuk.
The mayor says the county doesn't want the lines, buried or not, adding the east route runs through more populated areas than the west. The county now wants to encourage those behind the project to make the west route, the preferred choice.
Epcor has said the corridor would draw from existing powerlines south of Edmonton, and then run along the eastern boundary of the city and north.
The project was also considering burying 20 kilometres of the 60-kilometre line that would start from Ellerslie to Baseline Road on the edge of Sherwood Park.
The cabinet and MLA for the area, Iris Evans, was unaware of the new motion. But says she has always preferred the lines to be buried.
"The burial of the powerline, the last I had heard was something that we not only asked for -- cost to be done for -- but seemed to be something that I thought was imminently sensible around an urban area constituency," said Evans.
Responsible Electricity Transmission for Albertans (RETA) agrees with Evans saying the county's motion doesn't change its fight.
"We have members all over Alberta along both the preferred and the alternate routes, as long as you put it under ground it doesn't really matter where you put it," said Bruce Johnson with RETA.
But that particular part of the discussion does mean something to Strathcona County.
"We are fighting for all residents of Alberta. We are unsure that all evidence is put forward and it's a common sense approach but we are here to stand up for our residents," said Osinchuk.
Strathcona County has been given intervener status for the Alberta Utilities Commission public hearing on April 11th.
With files from Kevin Armstrong