Friday, October 8, 2010

Protection Of The Lakeshore Within The Town Of Wabamun

After 54 years of operation, this last March saw TransAlta shut down its last remaining generating unit. Their plan for next few years will be the demolition of the power plant and complete remediation and reclamation of the plant area including the wetland areas that were altered in the building of the plant back in 1956. TransAlta had built both a cold water intake channel from the lake to cool down it's generators and a warm water discharge channel to force the heated water back into the lake. Although, this reclamation would temporarily alter nesting grounds and spawning habitat, it would soon be wildlife friendly with birds and fish returning to this valuable area.  Sounds pretty good heh?  Well, it does until you hear what the town of Wabamun wants to do with it after TransAlta is done.

The town council is asking the Alberta Government for approval for development south of the CN rail-tracks.  This area is currently where the warm water discharge channel sits and is an important nesting area for birds and spawning fish.  The wetlands has no strong foundation for development meaning this marshy area would need excessive gravel fill to make it suitable to build on.  According to the plans that are availble here (Discovery Wharf) the intake and outflow channels would be left behind and altered with shops, restaurants, homes, a wharf, etc, being built on the edge of them.  All of the shoreline east of the channels would be filled in and developed north to the train tracks for housing, shops and a beach.  These are huge nesting areas and massive spawning habitat to be lost.  If you want to help at the very least, sign the petition here.

To view this area, check out this video. The beginning of the video is the current boat launch and dock and that's where they want to build the new marina.  The remainder of the video is exactly where they want the development to take place of the new wharf, all the land as far north as the plant you see and east back to the current dock would then be lost to development.

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