Hydro One continuing talks on proposed transmission line

File photo/The Canadian Press

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Proponents of a proposed transmission line project that would stretch from Chatham-Kent to Lakeshore are continuing to study potential routes and consult with stakeholders.

“We don’t see our project design as complete until we’ve consulted with the community,” said Daniel Levitan, Hydro One’s vice-president of stakeholder relations, while providing an update to municipal councillors during this week’s virtual meeting. “We will be coming back on a number of occasions to make sure that we’ve got it right.”

The transmission line, which requires a class environmental assessment, would add 400 megawatts of power, which is enough for a city about the size of Windsor.

It would run through South and West Kent from the Chatham switching station to the future Lakeshore station.

“A safe, strong and reliable transmission is absolutely fundamental to supporting economic growth, local jobs and fast-growing industries such as the greenhouse sector, which are heavily dependent on electricity,” Levitan said.

Since January, the study team has hosted virtual community information sessions, along with technical advisory workshops with governmental and non-governmental agencies and First Nations.

Levitan said residents, farmers and business owners are also playing a role.

“A key piece to our project planning includes collecting feedback,” he said. “We know they have significant experience, knowledge and advice.”

A second information session concerning the preferred route will take place early next year. The draft environmental report is slated for June 2021 for a 30-day review.

If approved, construction would begin in early 2024, with the line expected to be in service by the end of 2025.

West Kent Coun. Mark Authier said he hopes the rail corridor gets serious consideration as a possible route.

“It would be great to see it go down the railway through Tilbury, so we’re not taking any more land where we could actually make our town a little bit larger,” he said.

Levitan said the idea of using the corridor will be taken back for further discussion to “see what opportunities exist,” noting there are regulatory standards to abide by.

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