Landowners’ group against proposed transmission line

Written by  Stephanie Labbe

A proposed transmission project of AltaLink has upset local area residents in the Pincher Creek and Cardston areas. The Chinook Area Land Users Association (CALUA) has been opposed to AltaLink’s proposed above-ground 240KV Goose Lake to Etzikom Coulee transmission project since they heard about it.


The group started in 2006 to try and get inactive gas wells cleaned up. Cattle were getting into the wells.
“It’s kind of a watch dog organization to … develop long-range planning tools for current and future development in the area,” says Anne Stevick, the president of CALUA.
The proposed transmission project is projected to install a transmission line from Pincher Creek south through Mountain View, Cardston, then further east and north to Foremost.
Stevick says they have been told by Alberta Electric Systems Operator officials there are going to be additional wind farms in southwestern Alberta and they need the Alberta taxpayers to provide them with a powerline to transport that power.
“The residents in this area of the M.D. of Pincher Creek and also from the County of Cardston are very upset, that this line is unnecessary, that the wind industry is not going to develop like it has and that this is going to obliterate the landscapes for no reason,” says Stevick. “I think it’s very important to have this group, because as individuals you feel like you’re fighting a losing battle.”
Stevick adds she, along with her husband, are passionate about this group and stopping unnecessary projects, because of their past experiences. The couple used to live west of Pincher Creek on the Castle River when the Oldman River Dam was being proposed.
She went through three years of ‘not very fun times’ trying to protect their land and the riparian areas.
“We felt, what their tactics always are is to divide and conquer, so they take the easy fruit first and offer people money and take the ones that are wanting the money and will sign up right away and then neighbours start fighting with neighbours and then the companies just walk through and do what they want,” says Stevick.
“When we first heard about this powerline, we felt it was very important to have an organized group of landowners, to communicate with each other to try and keep it from splitting our community apart.”
Stevick had approached CALUA about this transmission project and got them on board with going against it.
“We’re just hoping that by the time they get to southern Alberta, somebody will wake up, come to their senses and say, really do we want to do this to our province and make our citizens pay for it through higher power bills and taxes,” says Stevick.
She adds CALUA hopes to completely stop this transmission project from happening. They understand it’s not an easy process and there’s a large chance they won’t be able to stop it.
The Livingstone Landowners group has also been going through the same process with a powerline that’s proposed to be going in the Porcupine Hills near Cowley. That group has been able to successfully get a hearing with the Alberta Utilities Commission, but they have been fighting for two years.
Stevick says if CALUA can’t get the transmission line stopped from Goose Lake to Etzikom Coulee, they would hope to have the line go in the least intrusive route so as to minimally impact the environment and people.
So far, CALUA has been approaching provincial ministers and MLAs to try and question the need for this powerline. On May 28, CALUA brought forth a petition to the M.D. of Pincher Creek No. 9.
Stevick says it’s a thick binder full of signatures against the proposed powerline. The group has been going around to residents in the M.D. of Pincher Creek with the petition asking them to sign it, saying they are against future wind development in M.D. of Pincher Creek along with any large transmission lines.
Along with a signature, each person writes down their land location where CALUA shades in the areas that people are against the transmission line.
“The map has a lot of areas coloured in showing where people are opposed to it,” says Stevick.
This summer, AltaLink is going to be mailing out its preferred route. Following the mail-out, AltaLink will hold public open houses where Stevick and CALUA will take their petition and questions to them.
“We plan to go to provincial, try and get the attention of some provincial ministers and talk to them. We are trying to work together with our other groups like the Livingstone Landowners group as a cohesive group to keep on making noise,” says Stevick.
CALUA is waiting to take their next step this summer when they can bring forth their concerns to AltaLink.
In the meantime, they are making sure landowners are up to date on new information.