St. Albert opts not to fund move of transmission line

Council sanctions relocation but denies money to do it

Edmonton Journal
December 24, 2008

St. Albert city council has decided not to put any money next year towards the relocation of a transmission line near Big Lake.

The line is known to kill waterfowl flying between the lake and neighbouring ponds and marshes. The issue has attracted more attention since Lois Hole Centennial Provincial Park was created in the area.

The provincial government and AltaLink had both committed money to the relocation project, with the understanding the city would fund its portion of the cost.

City council passed a resolution Monday to include the transmission relocation in the capital budget for the coming year but show it as unfunded, said Bill Holtby, the city manager.

Basically, city council and the mayor acknowledged it as a priority but not a high enough one to fund it, Holtby said.

The move doesn’t seem to have discouraged the lake’s stewardship group.

“I’d say it’s encouraging that the city government has decided it is a priority,” said Miles Constable, president of the Big Lake Environment Support Society. “BLESS understands the city has some significant financial issues to deal with,” he said.

Constable said the group hopes that when the economic situation improves, the city will direct money to the project. “Our position is it should be moved.”

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Elke Blodgett