Number of dead birds shouldn’t factor into power line move

Despite non-productive griping in letters to the editor on the exact number of birds killed by the power lines that front Lois Hole Centennial Provincial Park in St. Albert, the Gazette editorial was spot on in calling for the lines to be moved.

The number of birds killed is largely immaterial and nobody really knows the exact number that strike the wires. We couldn’t possibly know unless we stationed someone out there 24/7 every year to monitor and count bird strikes. What we know for sure is that birds do strike the wires and when that happens a few might manage to recover and fly off but most are either killed outright or hit the ground where they suffer until they die from their injuries or are put out of their misery by predators. We know this because other environmentalists (note the use of plural) have seen this happen. Credible and non-exaggerating residents have also recorded the evidence of many bird strikes every season with their cameras.

What matters is that the power lines are known to kill migratory birds, whether it be one or a hundred or a thousand in a season. As citizens blessed with the wonderful Big Lake natural area on our doorstep and as citizens concerned about our impact on this earth, we have an obligation to prevent such unnecessary mayhem.

There is little doubt that recent generations have been negligent in respecting and protecting our natural heritage at Big Lake. However, such has not always been the case. The first human residents of St. Albert in fact depended upon the bountiful wildlife and clean waters of Big Lake and the Sturgeon River for their very survival. I suspect they would be appalled were they to witness our apparent disregard for the lake and river and our lack of respect for the lives of other species.

Of course the power lines need to be moved. They should never have been placed where they are to begin with. We now have a golden opportunity to correct the situation. Other parties, both industry and government, have come to the table with funding and the will to move the lines but it’s not enough to do all the work necessary.

St. Albert taxpayers have recently thrown untold millions of dollars into a road and a recreation centre and soon many more millions will go into elaborate, ostentatious sports fields and an RV trailer park in Riel. Isn’t it time our natural heritage also received some long overdue priority to ensure it survives for future generations?

Dave Burkhart

Leave a Reply

Elke Blodgett