A group opposed to transmission line development planned for the Pincher Creek area say while they support the development of renewable energy, the Chapel Rock transmission line is an expensive and unnecessary burden that will be forced onto the shoulders of ratepayers.
Ted Smith, president of the Livingstone Landowners Guild, said an analysis of the project by the group has identified a number of concerns.
“Our main concern is that it is completely not needed,” he said. “The need for this line was decided in 2008, and things have drastically changed since then.”
In a Feb. 7 news release, the guild stated the cost of the project has increased from $180 million eight years ago to $750 million currently.
They also state the line is no longer needed, as previous projects in the area have lapsed or been abandoned. Turbine technology has also changed to the point where turbines can operate in less-wind proof areas, closer to current transmission lines.
More equitable distribution would also add to reliability and consistency of power delivery, according to the release.
Another major criticism of the line is the belief it would degrade the tourism and aesthetic value of the area, as well as be an unnecessary intrusion on environmentally-sensitive land.
The guild states the development is in violation of the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan, which directs industrial development to use “existing disturbed corridors.”
Smith said the guild is not against development, but that they try to support development that “makes sense, and that can be aesthetically, environmentally, and economically.
“We’re not an anti – (development) group,” he said. “We’re very much support it. Our group started out with some oil and gas proposals, and we just worked with the companies and got them to (develop) in a more sensible fashion.”
Smith said as it stands, there is no way the guild can support the line.
“It’s totally ridiculous,” he said. “It makes absolutely no sense.”
He added the group consulted with engineers who stated the job could be done in a different manner that would cost far less.
The Livingstone Landowners Guild is comprised of ranchers, acreage-owners, local business operators, and others interested in maintaining the aesthetic and ecological virtues and quality of life of local residents. Currently, Smith said there are as many as 90 families involved in the organization.
“It’s just all local people that have come together to support good development and oppose things that are being done badly,” he said.
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