Métis group wins small victory over Bipole III route
Environmental hearings delayed; Manitoba Hydro to submit assessment by Jan. 28
The Manitoba Métis Federation has won its fight to postpone hearings surrounding the construction of Bipole III in light of route changes being proposed by Manitoba Hydro.
The MMF, which has hunting rights in areas where the high-voltage transmission could end up, says the route changes need more study.
The Clean Environment Commission is presently holding a public review in Winnipeg of the massive hydro line project that is slated to run 1,400 kilometres from northern Manitoba to just east of Winnipeg and cost more than $3 billion to build.
Review hearings began on Tuesday and were scheduled to run until Nov. 27, but the commission announced late in the day that the hearings will be adjourned on Nov. 20 and resume March 4.
Manitoba Hydro will be expected to submit its environmental assessment report on the Bipole III route changes by Jan. 28.
All interested parties can then review the utility's report in time for hearings to resume in March.
Earlier on Tuesday, MMF lawyer Jason Madden said the Métis organization has a constitutional right to be consulted on the route changes.
"They've moved the project, or the route, out of the area they have already environmentally assessed. So we don't know if it's better, worse, same. And I think that's the point," he said.
The proposed route changes may, in fact, be the best ones but the public, and the MMF don't have enough information to reach that conclusion just yet, Madden said.
"That's why we need to have all the facts and all the information before the participants, the Clean Environment Commission, to make sure this route really is the best route," he said.