Edmonton business owners charged up, frustrated over new transmission lines

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South Edmonton property owners frustrated with power line project
WATCH: Some southside property owners are frustrated with new power transmission lines going up along 99 Street. Those lines will be supported by massive poles - some up to 30 metres high. Vinesh Pratap reports – Nov 14, 2019

A power transmission line project is causing some buzz in south Edmonton.

“We looked back at some of the messaging that they sent out and it wasn’t overly clear that it was going to be high-transmission power lines,” said Chad Griffiths, a business operator in the area.

The work is related to EPCOR’s Strathcona Area Transmission Upgrade.

According to Griffiths, consultation on the project has not been robust enough.

The transmission lines will run from a power substation at 51 Avenue, south for several kilometres, ending at another substation.

They’ll be supported by wood, steel or composite poles which will range from 18 metres high, possibly up to 30 metres in some spots; that’s between 60 and 100 feet.

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“Our voice hasn’t been heard.”

Edmonton business owners charged up, frustrated over new transmission lines - image

“They never informed us on what side of the road, what’s going to happen; just (that it’s) going to be an upgrade,” said Bill Tarrabain, another 99 Street business owneradding there’s concerns about the impacts on property values along the commercial corridor.

No one from EPCOR was available for an interview, but the City of Edmonton-owned utility provided a statement indicating “its commitment to consulting,” adding it was a regulatory requirement for this project.

“Our records show that 1,940 landowners, occupants, residents and other potentially interested parties were notified by mail in Sept. 2017, March 2018 and June 2019,” the statement adds.

“Our consultation included various methods, such as in-person meetings, telephone, e-mail with participants, and one open house.”

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The Alberta Utilities Commission indicates it also sent mailouts and held a Dec. 2018 public hearing.

The commission gave its approval after considering feedback, deeming the project in the public interest.

“You look at the preferred routes and the alternate routes and you see where are the least impacts,” said Jim Law, an external relations director with the commission.

Still, Griffiths is speaking out as a warning for others to be vigilant if similar projects are proposed elsewhere.

“After going out and talking to 31 different property owners on 99 Street, only two of them knew about a high-transmission power line.”

Construction on the transmission line is expected to begin shortly, with work to be completed by next June.

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