The Manitoba government has granted an environmental licence to Manitoba Hydro for its Bipole III transmission line, but it comes with 68 conditions.
The conditions in the Environment Act licence exceed the 26 recommendations the Clean Environment Commission made for the project last month, the province said Tuesday.
Bipole III, which will span 1,400 kilometres and run along the west side of Lake Winnipeg, has raised the ire of farmers, aboriginal leaders and others who say the project is too expensive and needlessly intrudes on their lives.
Some have raised concerns about the impact the project will have on the boreal woodland caribou herds in northern Manitoba.
Some said they were worried about the impact of such a large influx of workers into the area, while others were concerned about the effects on agricultural practices.
Aboriginal and Métis groups wondered how construction would affect hunting, gathering and trapping.
Among the conditions the province has imposed on the Bipole III project is one requiring Hydro to consult with area farmers before the placement of each tower is finalized.
The Environment Act licence also requires Hydro to use trail cameras and other methods to extensively monitor woodland caribou, moose, wolves, black bears, white-tailed deer and birds of prey to make sure wildlife are protected.
The public will be able to access details about environmental monitoring and protection through a website that Manitoba Hydro will have to set up as a condition of its licence.
In a news release, Conservation Minister Gord Mackintosh said the conditions attached to the Bipole III licence are some of the strictest in the country.
He said the government will continue to listen to the concerns of aboriginal communities and will take those into account when considering other permits the project still needs.