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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Crowsnest Pass council opposes transmission line

C. Davis file photo
Chris Davis

In a correspondence dated March 16, 2015, Crowsnest Pass Mayor Blair Painter expressed Crowsnest Pass Council's opposition to the Alta link Castle Rock Ridge to Chapel Rock Transmission Project.


The correspondence was addressed to the following:

  • Alberta Electric System Operator - Stakeholder Relations
  • Mr. John Barlow, M.P. for Macleod, House of Commons, Ottawa
  • The Honourable Jim Prentice, Premier of Alberta 
  • Mr. Pat Stier,  MLA for Livingstone-Macleod
  • Honourable Frank Oberle, Minister of Energy
  • Mr. John Grove, Municipal and Community  Relations Manager, South, Altalink
  • ReeveBrian Hammond, MD of Pincher Creek 
  • Reeve Cameron Gardner, MD of Ranchland
  • Mayor Don Anderberg, Town of Pincher Creek
According to the correspondence, CNP council received a petition by "in excess of 166 persons" opposed to the alignment route east of the Bellevue "adjacent to an existing transmission line on the eastern boundary of the Municipality".

"After a considerable debate on the alignment option, Council was of the opinion that there are several considerations they must identify as significant disadvantages to this proposed hydro line construction project."

The perceived disadvantages include (taken directly from the correspondence):
  • Our community has not been properly consulted on the effect of the towers on our community.  This  project has been called the "Castle Rock Ridge to Chapel Rock Transmission Project".  Both of these areas are not even close  to the Crowsnest Pass.   It was only when Altalink  presented to Council, and we demanded that  they do a  consultation  in our community,  did  a  consultation happen.  Originally they had no intention of holding a consultation  in  our community even though we are directly affected. There needs to be an extension in order for all citizens in our community to express their views on this project.
  • The Community of Bellevue has  a  population of over 2,800 people within  1.1 square kilometer, whereas the total  population of the MD of Pincher Creek is approximately 3,100 people with a density of .9 per square kilometer.    Therefore, our community  is  at a  much greater impact than the MD of Pincher Creek in regards to visual   impact and wind noise within this community .
  • The planned corridor for this project will go through some very tough terrain and will jeopardize and threaten  many species in this South Saskatchewan Regional Plan (SSRP) identified subalpine region, including the  Limber Pine and a  major wildlife  corridor.   The SSRP also talks about "appropriately  considering land uses and values".  The Alberta Government is  "committed  to responsible development",   and  this  is   not  responsible development when it  threatens  to dramatically effect a  whole community.  The proposed route contradicts Alberta's objective to diversify our economy from oil to tourism.
  • Our community relies heavily on the tourism industry as our only source of business revenue, and with over 10,000 vehicles passing through a day, clear sight lines are imperative. The transmission line would be in full view of the multimillion  dollar Frank Slide Interpretive Centre while tourists view the historic "Frank Slide".
  • The siting of the towers and line on a  prominent height of land on the boundary of a  community of 800 land owners will be a  significant deterrent for future subdivision  and  development within the Community  of Bellevue, and will cause a significant devaluation or reduction of assessed value of the personal properties adjacent to the line route.
  • The Council has been advised by property owners who live in close proximity to existing such line right-of-ways of the wind noise, and constant irritation caused by the sound from the towers and the lines that are very close to this residential community.
  • The Council is of the opinion that the other three proposed line route options pose a significant lesser risk to a  much more sparsely populated area, than the route option north of Bellevue.
  • In the Crowsnest Pass the major marketing advantage is the view from the valley, and the valley is already a  major corridor for the railway, highway, hydro transmission lines and pipelines. Since we are considered a "Gateway" to Alberta, a  major management issue in the valley is the control of invasive weeds along all of these right-of-ways, and all too often the Municipality  is  left to conduct operations to control and eradicate these weed infestations with no help or recognition of  the  problem  from  the  owners  of  these  right-of-ways.  In   the  last three  years, Alberta Transportation and Canadian Pacific have started to realize the issues with invasive weeds and have started  to  recognize the  cost to  control  invasive species of  weeds, but  the  pipeline companies and the hydro companies have been less than reactive to the problem.
  • The Municipality is one of the only communities and part of the Crown of the Continent  initiative and partnership which strives to sustain the remarkable landscape of this area.
"In the opinion of the Municipal Council of the Crowsnest Pass, the proposed alignment for the Transmission Line is a detriment to one most marketable feature and landscape of the Municipality and the area, which is the purity of the site lines and scenery. Therefore, we the Municipal Council will go on record as being opposed to routing of this Transmission Line through the Municipality."

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