January 28th, 2015 ~ Vol. 85 No. 4
AltaLink propose power line
through Pass
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
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Pass Herald Reporter
Facing strong opposition from Pincher Creek landowners, AltaLink is proposing to route the Castle Rock Ridge to Chapel Rock power line through the Pass.
At a council meeting on Jan. 25, AltaLink municipal and community relations manager John Grove said the line could run parallel with an existing line from the Goose Lake Substation heading west to Burmis, across Highway 3 and into the municipality.
The community would receive up to $100,000 per year in linear taxes if the power line is built, said Grove.
The proposed line is part of the Southern Alberta Transmission Reinforcement plan, which is expected to consist of a new substation, about 13 kilometres of new 500 kV lines and 20 to 41 kilometres of new 240 kV line.
It is estimated that the first stage of this plan will cost up to $750 million. When required, this plan could be expanded into second and third stages with an estimated cost of $800 million and $280 million respectively.
AltaLink had been pushing for the proposed line to take a northerly route from a substation just above Pincher Station, west to Cowley and then north to an existing high-voltage 1201L line that runs north-south past Burmis but landowners near Pincher Creek have objected to the construction of any power lines associated with the project.
In an Oct. 20, 2014 release, the Livingstone Landowners Group (LLG) said they “neither support nor endorse this project and as such, are not prepared to discuss specific route options.”
The LLG’s objections are mostly environmental. They insist that any route should use existing disturbed corridors such as road right-of-ways, power lines and railways and avoid both environmentally significant areas and native grassland.
Local scientists have also objected to the northern route.
In a letter to Premier Jim Prentice, retired forest scientist David McIntyre said the proposed lines and substation runs through the Rock Creek valley, which would interfere with future wildlife corridors over or under Highway 3. He also said it could be devastating to golden eagles and other birds of prey.
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“Any new lines are almost certain to translate into what might be termed line-induced mortality among avian scavengers, including bald and golden eagles,” said the letter. “And since the entire Livingstone Landowner Group (LLG) landscape is located within the migration route of the world's greatest concentration of golden eagles and countless additional raptors, there's the potential for significant mortality among eagles and other carcass-scavenging birds.”
While the northern route could have a greater environmental impact, council said the southern route would be more disruptive to residents, particularly the residents of the Pass.
“I’m just wondering why you’d even consider the south route when you’re going through the most densely populated area out of the whole district between Castle Rock and Chapel Rock?” asked Councillor Bill Kovach.
“Residential [considerations are] one component,” replied Grove. “Another component is parallel systems and linear infrastructure. The concept is to disturb less of the wilderness.”
“I would love the extra taxes but it’s going to make a big difference to the looks of the Crowsnest Pass,” responded Kovach.
Councillor Doreen Glavin asked if it were possible to bury any new power lines but Groves responded that it would be up to ten times more expensive.
AltaLink will be holding open houses in Cowley Feb. 10 and Lundbreck Feb. 11. Both will be held from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Councillor Shar Lazzarotto suggested the utility should schedule one in the Pass.
“I think if you’re planning on coming into the Crowsnest Pass, you’d better have an open house,” she said.
January 28th ~ Vol. 85 No. 4
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