Power Line Pass

City council’s pitch to have the province and AltaLink pay millions to bury the Big Lake power line has hit a brick wall.
By Bryan Alary

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Gazette’s environment reporter Kevin Ma has full details in today’s paper. I’ll just provide a brief recap.

The gist: council is back at square one. They can either pony up or stick with the status quo.

The issue: a 138-kilovolt line is blamed for bird deaths and viewed by some as a blight near the future entrance to Lois Hole Centennial Provincial Park. The relocation is not in St. Albert’s 2009-11 capital budget.

The history: council last month balked at paying $450,000 to joint a partnership and move the power line from its current path near the Big Lake Environment Support Society viewing platform. The new alignment would see the power line run along Ray Gibbon Drive. Power line owner AltaLink had pledged $450,000 for the move, while Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation gave the city $300,000.

The decision: council instead asked the province and AltaLink to foot the bill to bury the line, a $6.3 million cost, or build it into a walkway, an $8.5 million never-been-tried endeavour.

The update: council met with St. Albert MLA Ken Allred on Monday, who advised the province won’t contribute any more dollars. Allred even sounded somewhat critical of council’s decision.

“It seems the city is sort of reneging here a bit,” he said.

AltaLink officials also said the more expensive deal will not fly.

The future: city manager Bill Holtby will follow up with Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation to confirm Allred’s feedback. Then he’ll report back to council.

Labels: Power line

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Elke Blodgett