Edmonton

Landowners upset hearings into massive power line cancelled

Landowners fighting a proposed power line between Calgary and Edmonton say new rules governing a hearing into the project are unfair.

Landowners fighting a proposed power line between Calgary and Edmonton say new rules governing a hearing into the project are unfair.

Alberta'sEnergy and Utilities Board announced Monday that it will only accept written objections to the controversial, 500 kilovoltAltaLink power line.

The new rules come after board staff said they were physically threatened in three separate incidents at a public hearing into the project last week.

Jonita Colling-Holland, who attended the hearing, lives just East of Eckville, about 200 metres from the path of the proposed power line. She said she isworried about the potential health risks of having power lines so close to her family's home.

Colling-Holland saidsafetyis not the real reasonbehind the board's decision to shut down the public hearings.

"If health and safety were really an issue, I would not have been in that room with my son."

The board has already decided to approve the power line and doesn't want to hear from landowners, she said.

"This fight started out as a fight against the line. We didn't want the power line here and we still don't. But it has changed from a fight against the power line to a fight for democracy."

Davis Sheremata, a spokesman with the EUB, said the decision was made to protect both the rights of landowners and the safety of staff.

"We found that given the violence, given the threats, given the constant interruptions, the democratic rights of our participants in this hearing were being threatened, and that's why we took the steps that we did."

The hearing, which began on March 12, was scheduled to run for five to seven weeks.

Now written submissions must be filed with theboard by May 7. He says a final decision on the future of the project is expected by this fall.

now