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Legal fees to challenge substation top $300K, city must reimburse approved amount

Posted on April 27, 2023 by Ryan Dahlman

Southern Alberta Newspapers

Legal cost claims for those challenging the City of Medicine Hat’s site selection for a new southside substation totals more than $300,000, according to new documents filed with the provincial utility regulator.

Two groups of Cypress County residents raised respective objections to a preferred and alternate site for the substation, along with the land owners of both, during a hearing last month with the Alberta Utilities Commission.

No decision has been released but in mid-April, groups submitted claims for legal representation, time to participate and incidentals for taking part as intervenors.

If the expenses are approved, the City of Medicine Hat would be responsible to reimburse those costs as a standard requirement of project applicants.

A claim of $224,900 was submitted on April 12 by the “Cityview” group, comprising homeowners in a rural subdivision across from a preferred site near city limits at Highway 3.

Its legal fees with the firm of McLennan Ross totalled $119,000, with a large portion of the remainder charged for impact studies done by consultants.

A second claim of $79,600 was submitted by a group of Desert Blume residents and Hatview Dairy, which owns a hay field north of S. Boundary Road near the hamlet where the alternate site is proposed. Legal fees from firm Bishop Law made up $56,500 of the claim.

The AUC was asked by approve the site of the station that city power officials say is needed to regulate flows and meet increasing demand in the city’s south end.

The cost of the project is estimated between $22 million and $24 million depending on different locations.

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