Transmission lines coming

Hopes have been dashed for opponents of overhead power lines in Tsawwassen.

B.C.’s ministry of energy announced March 17 that construction of upgraded lines that cut through a residential area – to transmit power to Vancouver Island and Gulf Island residents – will go ahead.

“We’re totally devastated of course,” said Jack Bulloch, a member of Tsawwassen Residents Against Overhead Lines (TRAHVOL).

Construction of the new steel poles to support the lines is expected to begin in June.

TRAHVOL members will meet tonight to discuss their final options.

Said TRAHVOL co-chair Cecil Dunn, “We’ve been trying to take the high road and work with the government, but we’re constantly getting slapped back in the face here... We’re looking at other legal options. We’ll see what’s available to us.”

A ministry of energy press release stated the B.C. government “is willing to consider the option of purchasing homes of affected homeowners on the right-of-way if they desire.”

Dunn is wary of the offer. He said he spoke with energy minister Richard Neufeld on the phone and that Neufeld would not provide him with any details.

“I’m not even convinced at this point that there’s actually an offer,” said Dunn.

TRAHVOL members have fought against the upgrade since learning of it a few years ago.

One of their main concerns is that electro magnetic fields from the more powerful lines could contribute to cancer and they feel precautionary measures should be taken.

After the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear the residents’ plea to prevent the upgrade, they pinned their hopes on an alternative construction plan to the overhead lines: burying them underground using a less invasive method called horizontal directional drilling.

TRAHVOL, with the help of Mill Creek Management Technology, put together a proposal for burying the lines and presented it to the provincial government last fall. Their engineer estimated the cost to bury the lines along the decades-old BC Hydro right-of-way would be just over $16 million.

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