Thursday, 01 December 2011 10:57

AltaLink hosting open houses in Coaldale, Stirling and Foremost on Etzikom Coulee project

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The preferred and alternate routes have been announced for a pair of proposed AltaLink transmission projects in southern Alberta.


“The preferred routes for both projects represent the lowest potential impact when compared to other options,” said AltaLink Director of Siting, Hudson Foley. “We have taken a close look at the options and compared them in terms of potential impacts like residential and environmental, to name just a few.”
The proposed Picture Butte to Etzikom Coulee Transmission Project would see a new transmission line connect the Picture Butte Substation to a proposed substation in the area north of Wrentham. From that point, the proposed Etzikom Coulee to Whitla Transmission Project would head east and connect to the Whitla Substation — east of Highway 885 and south of Township Road 80.
AltaLink hosted open houses in January 2011 for the projects and has since been working to refine the original routing options using information gathered from landowners and environmental work.
With the amount of agricultural lands in the projects area, Foley said it was clear from the outset that placing a line that would seek to minimize agricultural impacts was important.
“This area of the province has a lot of specialized agricultural practices, such as aerial spraying and irrigation,” said Foley. “So it was crucial that we really did our homework. This took some time, but it allowed us to fully understand possible impacts, and how they could potentially be mitigated.”
Andy Edeburn, AltaLink environment manager explained coulee crossings were areas that needed mitigation strategies to be prepared, citing a pelican feeding area as one example.
“Landowners near Chin Coulee Dam identified a pelican feeding site as a concern,” said Edeburn. “Our environmental evaluation field work confirmed the pelican site and also flight paths pelicans use to reach the area.”
Foley said the proposed routing has been changed to cross Chin Coulee about one kilometre to the west.
“This move to the west reduces the potential environmental impact, and also reduces the number of residences near the line,” added Foley.
These projects are part of the Southern Alberta Transmission Reinforcement and are needed as existing transmission lines and substations in the southern part of the province do not have the capacity to connect power generated from new
wind farm projects.
AltaLink will host open houses for both projects in early December. Information about preferred and alternate routes will be available, and the project teams will be on hand to answer questions.
Open houses begin Dec. 6 at the Coaldale Community Centre and will continue Dec. 7 at the Stirling Lions Club. The Foremost Community Hall will host the final open house Dec. 8.
All open houses will be held from 4 to 8 p.m.
More information on these projects can be found at www.altalink.ca.

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