Open Letter

An Open Letter To:

St. Albert City Council
St. Albert City Manager

On October 20, 2008, council rejected Alderman Watamaniuk’s motion to contribute the city’s share to the relocation of the AltaLink power line.

The gist of the motion was a request that council respect the previous council’s direction in motion 585-2007, and that $350,000 be allocated immediately from the stabilization reserve to match the funds being provided by AltaLink and the Province to relocate the existing 128KV transmission line 747.

Instead, the city approved a motion by Alderman Burrows to ask the province to fund one of the other options, which would put the line underground or on ground, and cost between $6.3 and $8.5 Million. The city would not have to contribute a penny.

As much as I would like to see the lines underground, I somehow doubt the province will be that generous.

The big question is: does the previous council’s motion to support the relocation still stand? It has never been rescinded. It was simply somehow forgotten by administration and no action was taken. That was called “human error” last night.

If the province refuses to fund the underground option, as some of us expect they will, does the original previous council’s motion remain in force? (I suspect that efforts will be made to have it speedily rescinded.)

Will Alderman Watamaniuk’s motion to adopt Option 3 be resurrected, or will the entire project be dead because St. Albert is not honouring an agreement made between three parties, The City of St. Albert, Altalink and the Province of Alberta?

What do the other parties to the agreement say and were they even consulted? What will happen to the $300,000 the Province has already given to the city last year as their share of the agreement? (I was surprised our mayor was not aware of that contribution.)

From my point of view, what happened last night shows a sad lack of respect to a previous council’s motion and wishes, to the parliamentary process and to the memory of Lois Hole. It also shows a disrespect to an international treaty, the Migratory Birds Convention Act. Most of all, it shows a deplorable lack of foresight, and lack of caring for the victims of that power line.

Oh yes, the other big question of the night: What is aesthetics?

Elke Blodgett St. Albert

cc: St. Albert’s Place on the Web
St. Albert Gazette
Saint City News


So there you have it folks. A series of direct questions to the mayor, council members and the city manager. It will be interesting indeed to read their replies and rest assured we will publish them here for all to read. Over to you Mayor Crouse, Mr. Holtby and council members.

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Elke Blodgett