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Hydro One set to reveal Waasigan Transmission Line alternate route analysis

The utility is holding meetings at the Kam Community Centre on Tuesday and Wednesday
(stock photo)

THUNDER BAY — Landowners along the route of a controversial transmission line will learn this week what Hydro One thinks about a proposed alternate corridor.

A spokesperson for a group of residents is expressing concerns even before Hydro reveals the results of its evaluation.

The utility previously identified its preferred path for the 230-kilovolt Waasigan transmission line between Thunder Bay, Atikokan and Dryden, which would parallel an existing line through the Kaministiquia area.

Affected property-owners are being offered compensation, but at meetings organized by the citizens group Neighbours on the Line, some Kam residents have spoken out against the plan, saying they don't want to surrender any more of the land where they have built their homes.

Others are concerned about the environmental and human health impacts.

Last month, the group proposed a route that would take the power line north of Dog Lake and avoid Kaministiquia completely.

Hydro One committed to examining its feasibility, and has now invited stakeholders to a pair of meetings where it will share its findings.

The sessions are scheduled for 3 p.m. Tuesday and 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Kam Community Centre.

Neighbours on the Line spokesperson Michelle Hamer indicated Monday that she's not sure what to expect from Hydro's analysis, but she's worried.

She said the route the utility has already identified was chosen without any consideration for "the human impact" of the project, something she believes should be included in the assessment criteria.

Hamer said Hydro agreed to provide a breakdown of the criteria it used before revealing its evaluation of the alternate route, but has failed to do so.

She's also displeased with the short notice of the meetings and with the fact they are being held during the day, when many residents will be at work.

A Hydro One representative was not immediately available for comment but a spokesperson said officials would speak to the media after the first public session on Tuesday.

Under Ontario law, the utility could apply to expropriate private property for the Waasigan line.

The project would bring 350 additional megawatts of electricity to Northwestern Ontario, which is more than two times what it takes to supply power to the City of Thunder Bay.

Hydro One expects to submit the final environmental assessment for the project to the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks in the coming months, and hopes to receive approval from the Ontario Energy Board next year to begin construction.

The Waasigan Transmission Line is a 50/50 joint venture between Hydro One and eight First Nations. Former Fort William First Nation Chief Peter Collins is the CEO of Chi Mino Ozhitoowin, the First Nations partnership involved in the agreement.


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