Hydro pole heights loom large

Transmission line rebuild will mar the view from Leaside says residents’ group

A potential eyesore has some Leasiders buzzing about Hydro One’s proposal to rebuild the transmission lines near their homes.

Hydro One has finished its environmental assessment on plans to revamp the aging transmission lines running across Leaside along the CP Rail tracks from Millwood Road across the city to near Davenport Road. The plan also includes adding a third line along the CPR tracks between Leaside and the Don River.

Robert Champion, director of the Leaside Property Owners Association, said he understands the need to expand the energy grid but objects to Hydro One replacing the existing 29-foot lattice steel towers with 40-foot steel poles — a new design Hydro One says requires less space.

“Our biggest concern is the line comes across the south end of Leaside … it’s south of the tracks and crosses the CPR tracks. They want to follow this route because it’s easiest for them,” said Champion. “The project’s infrastructure will block pleasing views and significantly affect the aesthetic image of the surrounding area.”

Hydro One has taken steps to accommodate the visual effect the proposed transmission lines may have on residents in the community said Enza Cancilla, manager of public affairs.

“They are going to be taller (but) in certain areas where they’ll be more visible to communities like Leaside, we’ll be using steel poles which is a design we tend to use more in urban settings,” she said. “They’re narrower, a little more in keeping with the personal aesthetics and we think that’s going to help mitigate some of the visual impacts.”

Champion said that he would be responding to Hydro One’s report on behalf of his association to request that all construction from
transmission lines be kept south of the CPR tracks, which he said will limit the visibility of the towers from Leacrest Road and Mallory

Despite their efforts, the hydro lines infrastructure change is inevitable.

As Toronto’s population increases more energy is being consumed, which is why Hydro One is replacing and upgrading the infrastructure. The first transmission lines for the midtown power corridor were built in 1929 with underground cables laid in 1954.

According to Hydro One, they haven’t been replaced since.

Champion suggested Hydro One bury the lines which could enable them to add a third circuit without blemishing the landscape.
Hydro One nixed the idea due to cost.

“They would have to justify the cost to the Ontario Energy Board which would reject the cost of burying the lines over that section,” said Champion.

The project’s cost is $105 million with Toronto Hydro covering 40 percent of the total.

In order to begin construction on the midtown project it must be approved first by the Ontario Energy Board and then by the Ministry of the Environment. The public will have 45 days to provide feedback to the Ontario Energy board before it is sent to the Ministry of the Environment for final approval.

About this article:

By: Matthew Cohen
Posted: Mar 15 2010 11:03 am
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto