News / Calgary

Calgarians empowered to save Lindsay park views as Enmax changes power transmission plans

After public consultation the Beltline Neighbourhoods Association were able to help the power company see that underground wires would be best for Calgarians

Beltline Neighbourhood's Association president Peter Oliver points out the view he feared could have been obstructed by Enmax plans, which have since been changed after public consultation.

Jennifer Friesen/ for Metro

Beltline Neighbourhood's Association president Peter Oliver points out the view he feared could have been obstructed by Enmax plans, which have since been changed after public consultation.

A community group is applauding the power of public engagement after they successfully helped sway a power project from putting overhead lines through green space and views many Calgarians enjoy.

In a move to make the downtown power grid more reliable, city-owned Enmax began public consultations on a plan to reinforce electricity transmission, which would involve large electricity poles.

The power lines were going to go between 3120 - 9 Street SE and 903 - 4 Avenue SW, which is along the Stampede, Erlton and Lindsay Park areas.

Peter Oliver, Beltline Neighbourhoods Association president, said the project looked like it was ready to go when he attended the open house to learn more about Enmax's plans.

"We were kind of a bit surprised this was happening," said Oliver. "Particularly because this was a very large transmission line, up to 32 metre-high polls, we've seen them popping up elsewhere in the city closer to the ring road."

Oliver said the corridor is a gateway to the city on the south side with a lot of development in the works.

"You have the BMO convention centre, there's the major development happening at 25th Avenue...it also imposes over some major park space," said Oliver. "It wouldn't have been good."

In an August newsletter, Enmax stated new information about land use and ongoing projects in the area changed their decision.

"Enmax plans to file the Facility Application with the Alberta Utilities Commission by the end of November 2017 ... construction is scheduled to begin by mid-2018 with an expected in-service date by early 2021," the newsletter read.

Area resident Danny Haines went to the open house and was glad to see the energy company was so responsive in the face of public feedback.

"I wrote them a message to say 'hey, could you guys not do this,'" said Haines. "It would have been like having 20 cell phone towers up in Lindsay Pak, which would have been super ugly. It feels really good to have them listen to our concerns ... residents really appreciate that."

Oliver said he's hoping their positive work with residents, partner associations and their councillor can help people see a positive example of public engagement at work.

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