Several Halton Hills property owners whose land is adjacent to the existing hydro transmission line that runs from the Bruce Power Complex to Milton could be impacted if a proposed twinning of the line goes forward. A report by Peter Crockett, Commissioner of Planning and Public Works with Halton Region says Ontario Power Authority (OPA) has identified a need for a new 500 kV line, and based on analysis so far, the only viable option would be to twin the line that runs through Halton Hills between the Fourth and Fifth Lines. OPA has not yet made a decision on the project, but OPA spokesperson Tim Taylor said one is expected "shortly." Crockett said 63 properties in Halton Hills and three in Milton could be impacted. If the project goes ahead, Crockett said, it would involve the construction by Hydro One of a new, approximately 180 km $635 million line beside the existing line and would require widening the hydro corridor by about 175 to 200 ft, east of the existing line. In the Planning and Public Works Committee report Crockett said Hydro One would acquire the land required mostly through easement agreements with the landowners, and due to the urgent need for the line it would be seeking Ontario Energy Board approval to acquire the land through expropriation. In cases where a property owner's home or major operational building is in the widened corridor area Hydro One would usually buy out the entire property, said Crockett.
If the twinning goes ahead the goal would be to have the line in service by 2011, and have land and land rights acquired and construction to begin next fall (2008). The project requires both Environmental Assessment Act and Ontario Energy Board approval. Halton was consulted late last month about the project. Gary Schneider, manager regulatory approvals with Hydro One, said they are hoping to get the go-ahead for the project from OPA very soon and if that's the case, public information centres would be held along the line this spring. "We want to give everyone (the opportunity for) due process and the chance to participate in the planning process," said Schneider. He said at those centres the public could express its concerns. There would also be discussion about access road options and times of year for construction that would be the least disruptive for the landowners. "We will do our best to place the towers in line with the existing towers to mitigate any visual impacts," said Schneider.