Ask the Mayor

St. Albert’s Place on the Web
Hosted by Don Sinclair
Thursday, March 13, 2008

Question:

The question keeps getting asked about “the city’s plans for the relocation of the AltaLink high power line.” I will summarize again where this stands and while we may not like the answer, this is the truth.

Answer:

First, the City is currently committed to the relocation of the power line, as is the Province and AltaLink, as long as there is an affordable option – the options are still being reviewed. One option is to relocate the line to the east side of Ray Gibbon Drive. The technical side of this has some difficult issues; in particular the power line beside other metal structures such as the street lights and the goal posts in the recreation areas is problematic. Do we want safety issues of the power line going over the outdoor play fields? Of course not. Those issues are under review, and there is no feet-dragging by the City of St. Albert to get that issue resolved. That requires a technical review by provincial and AltaLink resources which is underway.

Putting the line on the west side of Ray Gibbon Drive is an option but of course that brings with it other issues such as right of way for 4-lanes, possible land purchases, visual impairment looking into the park from the road – just to name a couple of issues.

Please drive the road and imagine the line on the west side (of the future 4 lane highway), then the east side (over the sports fields), and compare it to where it is. What do you see?

The line runs through Lois Hole Provincial Park and of course the Ray Gibbon Drive is now part of the vision for the long term transportation plan (4 lanes) of the western regional road network. As such, all this planning is not within the city’s responsibility or control; but, the city is coordinating this project and as such the Provincial Government has already provided a check for $300,000. Yes, we have that money and AltaLink has committed $300,000 in kind to assist in this regard as well. The ball is in the court of AltaLink to create the plan that technically works, and then we will take that plan to the Provincial Government for their review. Once the location can be determined and the costs determined, City Council will review the finances and judge at that time as to the next steps. There is currently a motion on the books, approved by our Finance and Audit Committee, to include funding for this project in the 10 year capital plan, but as the alignment is not nailed down, neither is the cost.

The cost to bury the line is significant. I will not venture a guess, but if St. Albert taxpayers pay for the burying of the line it will mean a several percent increase in property taxes. I will be surprised that will be the chosen option.

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Elke Blodgett