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Back Opinion Opinion/Editorial Letters Re-zoning ROW Could Cost Delta Millions

Re-zoning ROW Could Cost Delta Millions

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High Voltage Powerlines in Tsawwassen

Mayor and Council,

The overwhelming opposition expressed by Tsawwassen residents resulted in the Mayor’s declaration last Thursday that the poorly conceived Tsawwassen Area Plan would be abandoned.  However, the part of the plan dealing with higher density, town homes, condos, etc., on the power line properties along 53A Street requires further attention.  The advantages and suitability of such development on the power line properties along 53A, specifically for the section between 8A and 16th Avenue, were identified early in the community’s opposition against BC Transmission Corporation’s (now BC Hydro) proposal for the new high voltage transmission lines through Tsawwassen.  The suggestion was at the time made on the premise that the power lines would be relocated away from the existing Tsawwassen Right-of-Way, and all soil contamination appropriately excavated and removed from the many affected properties.  The new lines and tall, steel poles are clear evidence that the lines are here to stay, committed contamination clean-up was not conducted, and the residents will continue to be affected by all negative aspects associated with the lines and the ROW.

The electromagnetic radiation and corona will increase with an escalating power demand on Vancouver Island, and the resulting controversial health aspects will persist.  Signed affidavits presented to the BC Utilities Commission by the property owners in 2006 established that 43 percent of ROW households had experienced one or more incidents of cancer illnesses or deaths.  While this was dismissed by the authorities as inconclusive, it remains a significant fact and concern, and exposing an even larger number of residents to these hazards would be reprehensible.  Creosote associated soil contamination, proven through soils analysis, exceeding levels allowed by B.C. Contaminated Sites Regulation, exists on many properties.

Future potential liabilities and litigation which may arise as a result of health problems and soil contamination clean-up costs related to the ROW must remain the sole responsibility of BC Hydro and the BC Government.  The Corporation of Delta should therefore exercise extreme caution with respect to rezoning or issuing of development permits and other permits which could be construed as Delta accepting responsibility for any of these inherent negative aspects of the ROW properties.  Otherwise, the Corporation, and consequently all Delta taxpayers, could be exposed to numerous future litigation and soil contamination clean-up costs, which could run into tens of millions of dollars!   

Karsten Holmsen




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