Ratepayer followup on Halkirk 2 wind project progress

Written by Terri Huxley

County resident Dwayne Felzien came to council on Dec. 14 asking county council to include the community affected by the proposed project in the planning and development of the project thus aligning with Capital Power’s commitment to do the same.

In a recent letter sent to all councillors dated Jan. 16, Felzien stated, “Capital Power advised in their presentation the project is in the planning stage. Capital Power have advised that county permits would be applied for after Alberta Utility Commission (AUC) approval is granted. Road use agreements would follow turbine selection and a project contractor, contract award.”

“Our County has filed legal documents stating the proposed project is approved and development permits have been issued. A road usage plan has been developed and approved.

“As a ratepayer and community member I find this very concerning,” he continued in his letter. “Residents of the proposed project area are unaware of the commitments and approvals our County have made on their behalf. Forever altering and changing their way of life and farming practices.”

“As these permits and the road use agreement are stated to be complete, please provide a copy to the sender by Jan. 21, 2022 and post for the public on our county website by the same date.”

Felzien asked to have the county provide ratepayers permit approvals and road use agreement supporting the county’s public filings to confirm the status of the Proposed Halkirk 2 Wind Project.

The ECA Review spoke with County of Paintearth staff on these points raised.

Community Services Director Todd Pawsey stated that no road use agreement has been signed or approved yet as work continues, however, that document can be signed at any time.

It would be subject to a plan developed and approved at a closer date to project construction, a goal of summer 2023, with specific details and plans in place.

“No road use or traffic management plan has been approved yet, again just communication as to what worked in Halkirk 1, and what should be planned for in Halkirk 2 aids county staff in making plans and tender documents for contracts,” stated Pawsey.

Felzien provided a preliminary map of possible locations of turbines which was given to the county by the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board for planning and communication purposes only between Capital Power and county staff.

“Not one ‘commitment and approval’ has been made towards any facet of Halkirk 2,” said Pawsey.

“Planning processes between the County and Capital Power planning staff will continue to occur as work requires, and upon a draft traffic management  plan developed will be shared publicly for comment at that time.”

As for Felzien’s comment on an approved traffic management plan, Pawsey shared that there have been discussions between the planning departments of the County and Capital Power where they have gone through the basics of what has worked at Halkirk 1 turbine project and how this can benefit the second installment and its community.

“The goals of the County are to have the community’s best interests in mind and protect infrastructure and lessen the expected construction inconveniences to the best degree possible. 

“The traffic management plan is a living document that may be amended as situations arise but follow the basic objectives and principles that made H1 a success,” he said.

 

Terri Huxley

ECA Review

About the author

Terri Huxley

Terri grew up on a grain farm near Drumheller, Alberta with an eye for the beautiful and uncharted. Living in such a unique and diverse area has helped her become the photographer and reporter she is today.

Coming from the East Central region getting this newspaper on her dinner table growing up, it helped her understand the community she now serves.

In May 2019, Terri was awarded Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association (AWNA) Canada's Energy Citizens Photographic Awards Sports Action – First Place as well as first for the same sports action image nationally with the Canadian Community Newspaper Association (CCNA). Fast forward to 2020, she has won second in the same category for the AWNA.