Metis to Be Consulted on Bipole III Changes

Article excerpt

Hydro wants to alter transmission-line route

Manitoba Hydro will consult with the province's 52,000 Metis on changes it wants to make to the route of the Bipole III transmission line.

The last-minute offer was made Wednesday by Hydro lawyer Douglas Beford to Manitoba Metis Federation president David Chartrand during an environmental hearing into the controversial project.

Chartrand said the offer was the first time the Crown power utility said it would sit down with the Metis after weeks of threats by the MMF it would take Hydro to court to block the transmission project.

The MMF argues it's been bypassed in the lengthy consultation process leading up to the Clean Environment Commission (CEC) hearing on Bipole III, now nearing the end of its seventh week.

Chartrand welcomed the olive branch from Hydro, but questioned its worth.

"What are they going to talk about?" he said. "Are they actually going to talk about environment impact? How is it going to affect me? Is it going to be a proper consultation? If that's what they're going to do, then that's good news.

"But if they're just going to say 'Hi, we met you in an elevator and I talked to you about it; are you OK with it now?' that's not what I'm looking for."

Chartrand earlier told the CEC panel the proposed 1,400-kilomtere line cuts through the "Metis breadbasket" on the west side of the province, an area where the Metis have hunted for generations.

"I support the development of Hydro," Chartrand said. …