Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Farmers rally in Bipole III protest

Say Hydro won't reveal easement payments

  • Print
Manitoba Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Pallister speaks with farmer protesters at the legislature Monday.

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Manitoba Progressive Conservative Leader Brian Pallister speaks with farmer protesters at the legislature Monday. Photo Store

Dozens of farmers and their families descended on the Manitoba Hydro Building and the legislature Monday to draw attention to what they say is the unfair treatment they've received over the construction of the Bipole III transmission line.

The farmers, represented by the Canadian Association of Energy and Pipeline Landowner Associations (CAEPLA), say Hydro has refused to answer what they'll be paid in compensation for the 1,400-kilometre line and its towers crossing their land.

The farmers, most of them from south of Winnipeg, said they want written reassurance from the Crown corporation that they will have some say in the work surveyors and construction crews do on their land.

They say they are upset over Hydro surveyors going onto their land last year without a farmer-approved bio-security protocol, risking diseases such as clubroot spreading to canola fields.

'It's not that we're trying to stop the bipole, we just want something for the future and something that's going to add value to our land. Not depreciate it'

—a farmer protesting the compensation offered to those allowing Bipole III to run through their land

"It's not just about the money -- it's about everything," a Red River Valley grain producer said outside Hydro's Portage Avenue head office.

"The structures are going to be there forever," a second man said. "It's not that we're trying to stop the bipole, we just want something for the future and something that's going to add value to our land, not depreciate it."

The day-long demonstration -- the issue also took up part of question period in the legislature -- came as Hydro puts the final touches on a compensation package for more than 400 landowners affected by the new power line.

"We have raised the amount of compensation we're providing from 100 per cent to 150 per cent of the independent assessment of the land value," Hydro spokesman Bill Henderson said. "That is for the right of easement. The landowner still has the ability to use that land, but they're getting a one-time payment equivalent to 150 per cent (of fair market value)."

Brunkild canola farmer Jurgen Kohler said the demonstrators -- CAEPLA represents about 100 landowners -- want a "business agreement" with Hydro that addresses all their concerns, including who's liable for the line and its towers on private land.

"What they're is doing is a divide-and-conquer exercise," Kohler said. "They're pitting landowners against landowners by trying to negotiate with some that aren't as passionate as us on property rights."

CAEPLA is a not-for-profit farm-property advocate specializing in negotiations with the energy sector. Farmers who belong to CAEPLA pay a $150 annual subscription fee. If and when Hydro settles with its members, CAEPLA will collect six per cent.

Late in the afternoon, Hydro Minister Stan Struthers met with Kohler and David Core, CAEPLA director of federally regulated projects.

"We have to remember that we don't have a bunch of cookie-cutter farm sites out there," Struthers said. "We don't want a one-size-fits-all approach to this."

Opposition Tory Leader Brian Pallister took up the issue in question period, saying the NDP government seems uninterested in collective bargaining when it comes to rural residents.

Work on Bipole III, to bring more electricity south from northern Manitoba, started several weeks ago.

A number of contracts for land-clearing have been awarded and work has begun at the site of the Keewatinoow converter station, about 80 kilometres northeast of Gillam.

Clearing for the Keewatinoow construction power line, collector lines, and along the Bipole III route between Thompson and the The Pas has also started.

bruce.owen@freepress.mb.ca

-- with files from The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 25, 2014 A5

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Key of Bart - Evil Las Vegas

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA 101130-Winnipeg Free Press Columns of light reach skyward to the stars above Sanford Mb Tuesday night. The effect is produced by streetlights refracting through ice crystals suspended in the air on humid winter nights. Stand Up.....
  • MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS 060711 Chris Pedersen breeds Monarch butterflies in his back yard in East Selkirk watching as it transforms from the Larva or caterpillar through the Chrysalis stage to an adult Monarch. Here an adult Monarch within an hour of it emerging from the Chrysalis which can be seen underneath it.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What do you think of the new school-zone speed limit?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google