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Land clearing for Hydro One upgrades upsetting some North Kawartha residents

Some local residents are upset that Hydro One is cutting down trees to make room for a stronger power supply.
Some local residents are upset that Hydro One is cutting down trees to make room for a stronger power supply. Dan Nyznik / CHEX News

Hydro One says it needs to cut down trees to make space for power upgrades in the Kawartha Lakes region north of Peterborough. But at least one man who lives near where the trees are coming down says that’s not OK.

READ MORE: Hydro One spending $845M in GTA to improve reliability, replace equipment

Dan Powell has lived in Woodview, Ont., all his life. In fact, three generations of Powells have lived there.

“This is our home, this is our community,” he said. “It’s disappointing, you know?”

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Hydro One is removing trees along about three kilometres of Reids Road. A spokesperson says it’s because of development in the area.

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Some local residents speculated that Viamede Resort was requesting the upgrade in power. The resort recently went through some upgrades and renovations, but owner Ben Samann says he inquired about hydro upgrades two years ago and decided against them.

“I don’t see myself needing three-phase power at any point in the future. We had asked for it two years ago when we were putting in the pool. We investigated it briefly until we were told it would cost a million dollars to run the lines and another $50,000 to upgrade our system, all to save a couple of thousand dollars on some pumps that we needed. We said, ‘that doesn’t make sense.'”

Property owners affected by the installation of Hydro One’s new power lines will be compensated for each installed pole, Hydro One says, adding that the power upgrades in the area, that are requiring the clear-cutting, are being initiated by Hydro One, not any local resident or property owner.

“The area has seen greater development, many of which are new or cottages that are being rebuilt into much larger cottages,” said Hydro One spokesperson Tiziana Baccbg Rosa. “That means we need to upgrade our equipment to ensure that the area continues to have safe and reliable power where and when customers need it.”

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READ MORE: Rural Ontarians left in the dark as electricity bills skyrocket

Powell says he realizes it’s a “done deal,” but he hopes developers will consider lessons learned for the future.

“People that are thinking of doing this kind of thing, maybe think about the impact it has on everyone else instead of just going ahead with it,” he said.