By Dale Cory
AltaLink has returned to Ponoka and will have an information centre set up this week to gather more information about its proposed Western Alberta Transmission Line project.
“At this stage in our second round of consultation, we’re still very much in a listening mode. We’re gathering information, and trying to be as transparent as possible,” stated Leigh Clarke, senior vice-president of AltaLink. “We want to provide as many opportunities as possible to provide information, and to get feedback.”
AltaLink staged 11 open houses through late August and early September. The open house held in Ponoka Aug. 31 drew 220 citizens.
“Not everyone can make a one-night-only event, so we’ve decided to put on information centres, which are smaller, but in a community for a longer period of time,” says Clarke. “The Ponoka information centre will be open until Sept. 23, giving people additional opportunities to find out more, and for our staff to provide additional information.”
AltaLink, the sole owner of energy transmission lines in Alberta, plans to build a new power line through central Alberta. The Calgary company is staging a series of open houses to consult with Albertans on exactly where the 500-kilovolt line, which will stretch from the Genesee plant west of Edmonton to a site near Calgary, should be built.
“We’ve done the open houses. Now we’re holding the information centres,” added Clarke. “And we still have to go out and do one-on-one consultations. More than 1,700 face-to-face consultations will be taking place. We hope to have that process completed by the end of October.”
AltaLink will then take all its information and make an assessment as to what it believes to be lowest impact route based on the criteria they have been charged with taking into account.
Later this year or early next year, AltaLink will file an application with the Alberta Utilities Commission on the desired route.
Clarke says citizens will be able to challenge the route submitted by AltaLink at that point.
The information centre in Ponoka continues daily from noon to 8 p.m. until Thursday, Sept. 23, and is being staged at the Elks Hall, located at 5901 Highway 2A.