By Marianne Curtis
Manitoba Hydro has announced that they have chosen a route to construct a new Bipole III transmission line and it will be running right through the southeast.
When proposing the line, Hydro had to keep the project clear of national and provincial parks and First Nation Land. After consideration, the utility has proposed a 1,364 kilometre line that runs from the Conawapa generating station near The Pas, through the province and down into the southeast.
The route proposed route was one of three being examined by the utility and was deemed to have the least amount of impact on agricultural land.
RM of Hanover reeve Stan Toews does not agree with that conclusion. This significant project will affect landowners in the RM of Hanover, Ritchot, Tache and Ste. Anne.
Toews say 180 acres of land in the municipality would be “wasted” on the project.
“This project runs through prime agriculture land and cuts through an area prone to flooding,” stated Toews. He added that his council has voted unanimously against the project from the beginning.
According to a map, the new hydro line will cross Highway 75 and run east from Ste. Agathe along PR 305. It will continue eastward until north of Mitchell where it will turn northward to PR 210 east of Landmark and then head towards Ste. Anne where it turns north again.
Over one hundred and fifty residents in Kleefeld were notified that the new line may cross their properties. Steinbach MLA Kelvin Goertzen has been fielding calls ever since.
“People are upset because they are not only losing their land but they also don’t understand why the line was not placed further east as recommended by experts,” stated Goertzen. Hydro originally wanted to run a much shorter transmission line down the eastern side of the province, but the Manitoba government ordered a longer, west-side route to protect a wide swath of boreal forest.
Manitoba Hydro President and CEO Bob Brennan says that while the proposed site has been released it is not the final plan.
“We will again be seeking public input into this preliminary preferred route over the next several months before a final route is submitted as part of our Environmental Impact Statement for regulatory approval,” stated Brennan.
In September, Manitoba Hydro will begin a series of meetings with municipalities and host several public open houses.
The aim is to have construction start in 2012 and have the line operating in 2017.