AltaLink hearing results won’t be known for a while

By Gillian Slade on September 12, 2013.

Dale Weiss voices his concerns over the AltaLink powerlines planned to run near his property.–NEWS PHOTO EMMA BENNETT

The rebuttal phase of the Alberta Utilities Commission hearing, on AltaLink’s application to install powerlines the length of Township Road 114, was completed on Wednesday but it could take a couple months before a decision is made public.

“Change the route or bury the cable,” said Dale Weiss, whose home is just 100 metres from where the pylons will be installed.

Weiss suggested AltaLink could set a new environmentally friendly trend with advertising showing a landscape with buried cables and not a pylon in sight.

“Why is this even being built?” asked Weiss, speculating the electricity is not required in southern Alberta and will likely be sold to the U.S. With that in mind he demanded to know why the property owners on Township Road 114, between Eagle Butte Road and Black and White Trail, have to pay the price.

AltaLink’s lawyer said they had presented expert witnesses and had addressed all concerns about magnetic fields, noise, radio interference, and property values, showing there was no need for any concern.

There is a route AltaLink could take that would not have the same impact on property owners as Township Road 114 will. That route would require payment of rent to landowners, said Barry Miskuski, lawyer for some of the landowners affected.

AltaLink’s preferred route means pylons will be erected on the side of the road, where no rent is required, and the arms above will extend over private property.

Those affected by AltaLink’s decision thought the hearing should have been about compensation to the landowners and an assessment of the loss of their land. They feel AltaLink’s application to the Alberta Utilities Commission should not have been about the route that was the least costly to them but rather one that was the least invasive and offensive to the property owners in the area.

“The cost of this should not be borne by the owners of the land,” said Miskuski. “And it is not our job to propose alternatives for AltaLink.”

In the end whether the health effects from the powerlines are perceived or actual it did not matter to Weiss.

“Perception is reality when it comes to the health effects,” said Weiss.

“The decision made from this hearing will impact us forever,” said Mick Parsons landowner on Township Road 114. “It’s our land and it will be our situation.”