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West Prince residents want high-voltage power lines moved

More than 50 people who live in the western P.E.I. community of Forestview have signed a petition calling on the provincial government to move high-voltage power lines away from their homes.

The lines run along Howlan Road and carry electricity generated at the West Cape wind farm.

The province did remove three-quarters of the lines in 2008, says local resident Clyde Penney, and promised at that time to move the rest once future wind turbines were established in that area.

“We’re asking now for government to live up to that responsibility and to remove the lines,” said Penney.

After more than a decade of lobbying, the residents of the area say the time to move the lines is now, as the province plans a $44 million project to establish a 106-kilometre transmission line to transport energy from a future 40-megawatt wind farm in Skinners Pond to a substation in Sherbrooke, near Summerside. It’s planned for 2025.

Penney said 52 impacted residents have signed the petition.

He said they’re not against the turbines, just against the lines running by their homes.

“In some cases they’re only 25 feet from the houses,” said Penney, adding that the lines devalue their properties and pose a potential health risk.

“The birds won’t even land on them.”

‘Just devastated’

The residents want to see the lines relocated away from homes on the road.

Juanita Gallant told CBC News when they rerouted the other lines back in 2008, she and her neighbours thought all the lines would be moved.

“But they stopped about a quarter of a kilometre from our house. That was it. We were just devastated,” she said.

“They rerouted everything from here right through to Summerside, but they didn’t reroute this bunch of homes right here,” said her husband, Ricky.

“They should’ve done that from the start.”

Their MLA, Robert Henderson, has asked the government to follow through on its commitment, suggesting it use the poles, wire and insulators along the new route of its wind energy corridor.

“They’re right in their front yards,” he said. “The community has been very patient.”

Penney wrote to Energy Minister Steven Myers in August, but said he has not heard back yet.

In the legislature Tuesday, Myers said he doesn’t know where the new power corridor will be located, but he’s willing to meet with residents to discuss their concerns.

A spokesperson with Maritime Electric said the company was not aware of any recent issues or concerns in that area, and it would be up to the province to decide whether to move the lines.