DDO residents reject plans for aerial Hydro Quebec towers
Published Saturday, February 20, 2016 6:58PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, February 20, 2016 6:59PM EST
A group of residents is fighting Hydro Quebec's plan to add more aerial Hydro Quebec electrical towers in Dollard-des-Ormeaux.
Calling themselves 'Build it Underground DDO', the residents are instead pushing for the lines to be buried underground.
“Right now I have an oasis in my backyard for my wife because she's got health issues. Now I look outside, I'm going to see these huge, huge towers; it's going to be really disgusting,” said resident Peter Dileo.
The new towers are part of a $100 million project to upgrade an aging Hydro Quebec infrastructure.
Part of that plan is to construct three kilometres of aerial towers connecting sub stations at Sources Blvd. and St-Jean Blvd.
The new towers would run alongside the existing towers, carrying three times the voltage. The original towers were built in 1957 with a capacity of 120 kilovolts; the new ones would have a capacity of 315 kilovolts.
“We recognize the need for the utility to upgrade the power resources and the grid on the West Island for many reasons, but we are objecting to the aerial installation of another set of pylons, which will be significantly larger than the existing pylons that are already there,” said resident Lynette Gilbeau.
Though the group is fighting to have the lines built underground, the chances are slim: only one percent of electricity lines in the province are underground.
“Building a power line underground is much more expensive than an overhead line,” said Jean-Philippe Rousseau, who handles community relations at Hydro Quebec.
According to the public utility, it's more than three times the cost to go underground, with only half the lifespan.
Dileo isn’t buying it.
“Frankly it's difficult to understand why an aerial line is going to cost $13 million and an underground line is going to cost triple that amount. It makes you wonder whether they're going to dig by hand or by professional people,” he said.
Dollard-des-Ormeaux city council agrees with the residents, and voted unanimously against the aerial project.
“I call it a James Bay type project, going through their backyards pretty well. It's not fair, it's not right,” said DDO city councillor Morris Vesely.
Residents are also worried that the extra towers will lower property values.
Hydro Quebec said it plans to beautify the corridor, but residents aren't convinced because, they say, the power company hasn't done much to manicure the corridor in the past.
An environmental impact report will be made public in the coming months.
Members of 'Build it Underground DDO' say they will continue their fight by attending public consultations and hearings slated for the spring.
The decision will be determined by the provincial government.