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Maritime Electric's proposed transmission line has Brookvale residents concerned

Paul Smitz stands outside the Mark Arendz Provincial Ski Park at Brookvale.
Paul Smitz stands outside the Mark Arendz Provincial Ski Park at Brookvale. - Daniel Brown
BROOKVALE, P.E.I. —

Paul Smitz is worried about how Maritime Electric's proposed project will affect his home – and the ski park he lives beside.

"It just doesn't make sense to me," Smitz said.

The company proposed a 138 kV transmission line during a public meeting in Kelly's Cross on Feb. 26. The line would start in Maple Plains and run to a proposed new substation in Clyde River.

Kim Griffin, spokeswoman with Maritime Electric, said the purpose of the line and substation is to help alliviate the load on its substation in Bonshaw. If there's ever a power outage, many customers in that area are affected.

"They all go out," she said.

As of now, the project is still in the preliminary stages and hasn't been submitted to government. 

These are the proposed routes for Maritime Electric's transmission line and substation, which would run from Maple Plains to Clyde River.
These are the proposed routes for Maritime Electric's transmission line and substation, which would run from Maple Plains to Clyde River.

Maritime Electric documented many ideas and concerns from residents along both routes during the public meeting, Griffin said. Some are concerned about how the preferred route would run along the road where the Mark Arendz Provincial Ski Park is located.

Jovette and Lawrence Keeler, who own a part-time residence along Route 13, think it's a bad idea to put the high-voltage line right beside the family resort.

"It just seems like such an odd thing to do," Lawrence said.

Their main concern is that those who enjoy the provincial park might be harmed by the magnetic fields produced by the high voltage lines. While research is inconclusive, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies fields with a frequency under 300 hertz as "possibly carcinogenic to humans."

"(So) they stand to be affected," Jovette said.

Griffin offered assurances that the company's lines are CSA-approved. As well, a past environmental assessment for Maritime Electric's O'Leary to Sherbrooke transmission line states that 138 kV lines only transmit a frequency of about 60 hertz.

"It is well below the levels emitted by the microwave," the assessment reads, "or the RF radiation emitted by cellular phones and radio broadcast transmitters."

Smitz, being one of the few year-round residents in the area, is more concerned about the environmental impact. While winter is a busy time for the park, many people hike and mountain bike in the area each summer, he said.


AT A GLANCE

  • The project outline proposes two routes: a preferred route and an alternate route.
  • The preferred route would have the line travel south, zig-zagging along some of P.E.I.'s side roads for 36 km.
  • The alternate route would have the line hop up to Route 225 and travel along it until diverging down to Clyde River. That route would be 34 km long.

Overall, he believes the alternate route would be the better option. The preferred route would run along roads that aren't snow-plowed as frequently, thus it could be harder to service them each winter.

"If something breaks down here, these are dirt roads," he said.

Maritime Electric is in the process of doing an environmental assessment, and Griffin noted that roadside tree-trimming was a concern brought up at the public meeting.

The preferred route is what they marked on their project outline because it'd run closer to their electricity system, she said.

"So it's closer for us to hook into the rest of the Island grid."

However, at this point, they're open to recieving more feedback if the public would prefer the alternate route.

"We are OK with both of these routes."


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