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Altalink replacing 23-km of transmission lines through the valley

Altalink is proposing to replace its 113L transmission line through the Bow Valley and the project includes increasing the H-frame poles adjacent to the Peaks of Grassi neighbourhood by two-to-six metres in height and removing trees on Crown lands adjacent to its right-of-way

BOW VALLEY – Altalink is hoping to replace 23 kilometres of its power transmission lines in the Bow Valley – including portions of the system that run through Canmore, the MD of Bighorn and Kananaskis Country. 

The proposed 113L transmission line rebuild would replace the existing 138 kilovolt (kV) line, originally constructed in 1953, to deliver power through the valley. 

Municipal and community relations manager John Grove was in front of Canmore council at the beginning of September to provide an overview of the project and the need to remove trees adjacent to the utility's right of way.

In particular, he identified tree removal along the company's transmission line and adjacent Crown lands that are located near the Peaks of Grassi subdivision as of particular interest for Canmore residents. 

"The message to council here is, there is going to be some discussion and it may get a little heated around removing trees, particularly near the Peaks of Grassi," Grove said. 

"We are not going onto private property to remove anything. It is Crown land or the Altalink right of way. We do have the authority from the Crown to remove hazardous trees." 

He said residents in the neighbourhood will receive an information package about the proposed project, which has not yet been submitted to the provincial regulator for approval. 

The proposed work would use the alignment of the current transmission line for its replacement from the Spray substation to the Kananaskis River. The anticipated start date, if approved, would be in spring 2021 and completion in winter 2022. 

The company plans to remove dangerous or hazardous trees within 15 metres on either side of its right-of-way. 

Senior right of way planner Steven Day said the work will involve an assessment of each tree before a decision to remove it is made when that work is done near residential development.

He said some of the trees along the transmission line corridor have reached a height that they are considered dangerous due to the potential for them to fall onto the line, or catch fire. 

Altalink provided information about the type of transmission towers it would be using for the proposed rebuild. For the majority of the 23-km line, a weathered steel monopole is expected. 

Residents in the Peaks of Grassi area, however, can expect a significant change to the powerline structures that runs adjacent to the subdivision. Currently, the line is comprised of H-frame wooden pole structures and Day said the plan is to continue to use that type of structure.

However, he said the new H-frames will be two to six metres taller in height when replaced. 

"We are now in the second round of consultations," Grove said. "Because this is a rebuild, there are no options where we are going to significantly change any of the alignments." 

Neighbouring properties to the transmission line will be contacted directly for feedback. According to Altalink, the goal is to make the application for the project to the regulator by the end of the year. 

Feedback to Altalink about the project can be provided through the company's online portal. Alternatively, contact the company through or 1-877-267-1453. 

Grove said all feedback will be included in Altalink's application to the regulator. 

Go to Altalink's website for more information. 


Tanya Foubert

About the Author: Tanya Foubert

Tanya Foubert started as a news reporter at the Rocky Mountain Outlook in 2006. She won the Canadian Community Newspaper Award for best news story for her coverage of the 2013 flood. In December 2018, she became editor of the Outlook.
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