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West P.E.I. power corridor not fixed: Webster

The route for Maritime Electric’s high-voltage transmission line through West Prince is not a done deal, says Energy Minister George Webster.

The utility has applied to the province to build a 138,000-volt transmission line to carry wind power generated at the West Cape wind farm. A group has formed to oppose the route for the line, which would connect the O’Leary substation to the Sherbrooke station outside of Summerside. In addition, voltage on a new line from the wind farm to O’Leary is due to be increased from 69,000 to 138,000 volts.

Islanders for the Safe Transmission of Power says the line poses a health risk by passing too closely to homes. Tuesday night, it presented a 3,000-name petition at the P.E.I. legislature, demanding a 450-foot (137 metres) buffer zones between the line and homes, schools, parks, and sensitive use areas.

The group is concerned about the health risks associated with high voltage.

Webster noted Maritime Electric has not yet been granted permission to build on the route it is proposing.

“The actual corridor that was identified earlier is certainly not carved in stone, I want to make that extremely clear,” he said.

“It’s on the table for discussion as well as some other routes, Obviously, my opinion of this would be if we could find a route that has less risk, if there is risk, certainly I would be open for those suggestions.”

Maritime Electric has to get approval from the province before it can proceed with its planned route.

The Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission recently ruled against people from the area who had filed a complaint about the proposed power line based on health fears.

CBC News

14 May 2008