Farmers raise concerns over proposed hydro transmission line between Chatham and Comber
Proximity to Tilbury and Comber questioned
Concerns over damage to drains and crops as well as questions about the preferred route for a new hydro transmission line between Chatham and Comber were fielded to representatives of Hydro One at an online forum held Thursday.
The new 230 kilovolt line is being installed to meet the needs of the growing greenhouse industry and other developments.
Hydro One will use 16 kilometres of right of way it already has but will have to obtain the rest of the 50 km route through purchase or lease of private property.
Grace Mullin of Comber represents 25 landowners who say they weren't among the 6,000 people Hydro One said it consulted when picking the route.
"None of us even know anyone locally that were ever consulted. Who were these 6,000 people consulted? And why did you not include the farmer, the actual caretakers of the land?" she asked.
Dan Levitan, the vice president of stakeholder relations, says several meetings and open houses have been held including the online forum last night.
"Well, obviously, we cannot consult with everyone and reach out to everyone. The effort is to ensure that everyone knows that we are out there. There are forums like this one to engage with us and to make those options available," said Levitan.
Levitan said he would be happy to meet with the farmers. He says there already were several meetings with the farmers in the Chatham area.
One of the concerns expressed with the route during the one hour meeting is how close it will come to Tilbury and Comber. It will cut through the area just north of Comber and just south of Highway 401.
Lakeshore Mayor Tom Bain says Hydro One assures him there won't be any electrical interference from the line, but he still feels there won't be much change to the route.
"Although they have agreed, they'll be meeting with each of the individuals' property that they're going through with discussing compensation in any of their concerns," said Bain.
Hydro One officials say the preferred route was chosen because it had the least impact on agricultural land, wetlands and other environmental concerns and historical landmarks.
Bain has another meeting with Hydro One officials Friday in which he said he will discuss some of the concerns raised by the landowners
Hydro One real estate representatives were to start scheduling discussions with property owners Friday regarding negotiations over land acquisition.