By Stephen Dafoe
Sturgeon County – Council’s light agenda Tuesday was punctuated with the addition of a motion from Councillor Don McGeachy seeking the creation of a Linear Infrastructure Voluntary Enhancement System that would look to compensate landowners affected by projects like the Heartland Transmission Line.
McGeachy read his motion into the record Tuesday and, in keeping with procedure, no discussion or comment was made. The motion will make its way to a future agenda for discussion. That motion, as presented by McGeachy, reads as follows:
Whereas the present system of compensating landowners negatively impacted or affected by linear infrastructure is unfair, inequitable and inadequate, resulting in affected landowners bearing a cost far in excess of benefits received.
Whereas Sturgeon County and the public derive a significant benefit from linear infrastructure but bears disproportionately much less of the cost than the affected landowners.
Now therefore be it resolved that in order to readdress (sic) the inequity and ensure a less confrontational, adversarial but a (sic) foster a more cooperative approval of needed linear infrastructure for the benefit of all.
That County Council direct Administration to develop a strategy including a bylaw to use the revenues received from the Heartland Transmission Line and subsequent project (s) to create the:
Linear Infrastructure Voluntary Enhancement System
to manage the potential inequities of the proposed projects. Furthermore to firmly establish a criteria framework that will enhance the county/council ability to ensure fair and adequate compensation for all affected residents identified by said criteria.
McGeachy’s motion is the most recent example of a councillor commenting on the Heartland Transmission Line project. Council voted 4-3 in favour of taking a position against the project Sept. 14, after taking a more neutral stance during the Alberta Utility Commission hearings on the project.
Last week Energy Minister Ted Morton suspended several projects, including the Heartland Line; however, the matter of suspending the Heartland Transmission Line was overturned by the premier later that day. The Alberta Utility Commission is set to make its final announcement on the project Nov. 1.