New website taking Hydro to task

RielstationED
Riel Station, part of the Bipole III Transmission Reliability Project. ERIN DEBOOY / WINNIPEG VOICE

By Scott Billeck 

Manitoba farmers and landowners are taking their fight against perceived bullying by Manitoba Hydro to the web.

StopHydroBullies.ca launched Monday morning with the aim of making property rights an issue in Manitoba’s upcoming April 19 provincial election.

The website, run by the Manitoba BiPole Landowner Committee, isn’t holding back any punches. It says Manitoba Hydro refuses to negotiate in good faith with farmers and landowners in the province. The group says they feel Hydro isn’t respecting the property rights of family farmers and will not recognize the Canadian Association of Energy & Pipeline Landowners Associations.

The website claims farmers and landowners know how to best take care of their own land, livestock and agriculture and that they have the best incentive to ensure environmental protection and biosecurity, not the Government and Crown Corporation.

Landowners in southern Manitoba protested the proposed Bipole III construction plans at the tail end of February, saying Hydro has failed to hear their concerns.

Bipole III, according to Hydro, is a new high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission project required to improve overall system reliability and dependability. The projected completion date for the project is 2018.

The website is demanding that Eric Robinson, the minister responsible for Manitoba Hydro; Ron Kostyshyn, the Minister of Agriculture; and Kelvin Shepherd, the president and CEO of Manitoba Hydro, agree to meet with the Manitoba BiPole Landowners Committee to hold negotiations.

Both ministers and Manitoba Hydro were not immediately available for comment.

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