Responses show possible changes to Boardtown Road Power Line ProjectNews September 24, 2020
ELLIJAY, Ga. – Over the weekend and the past few days, information has circulated among residents on Boardtown Road and the citizens asking for relocations of the project to protect the community and natural beauty of the area.
This group has consistently been writing, calling, and sharing information with Georgia House Speaker and local District Representative David Ralston and State Senator Steve Gooch about the project.
According to an email from Scotty Abercrombie, Ralston responded to citizens about the issue saying that he had heard their concerns and was working on the issue at the capitol. Abercrombie also said that he had responded favorably stating that he appreciated the calls and emails.
Abercrombie said that he was happy with the response and that Ralston had heard the issue on Boardtown Road loud and clear. Abercrombie stated, “I appreciated him reaching out to me to discuss.”
Abercrombie said that Speaker Ralston asked for patience and time to work towards the goal.
However, it was not much time before another update reported that some progress was being made and an extension, as well as a review meeting, had been set.
Meanwhile, another report circulating among citizens stated that a member of the Amicalola Electric Board told a citizen that the longer route could also have negative effects on citizens. This email reported the information on Boardtown from the board member stating that they were told, “Amicalola Electric will have to pay for the line with borrowed money and if the line went the long route, it would result in an increase in our power bill.”
Over last weekend, Georgia Transmission Corporation Public Affairs Director Terry Cole sent an email shared among the residents stating:
In consultation with Speaker David Ralston and Senator Steve Gooch, Georgia Transmission Corporation releases the following statement on the Whitepath Electric Reliability Project:
As we shared with the property owners and others at our public meetings, community voices are an essential part of our process as we develop solutions to electric reliability challenges. Since those meetings, we have carefully reviewed what the community expressed. We’ve weighed how best to move forward to achieve the goal everyone can agree on which is to ensure reliable power for the homes, farms, and businesses in the Boardtown Road area.
In direct response, we are undertaking an extensive review and analysis of the two routes the community expressed interest in us examining, GA Hwy 515 and the CSX railroad corridor. We anticipate this taking several months to properly conduct the examination of existing land use, environmental conditions, engineering constraints, and cost of construction, operation and maintenance. Impacts to other property owners in the Gilmer County community will also be a factor for consideration.
As a not-for-profit member cooperative, Georgia Transmission is committed to working with the local community to fully explore all options available to reach a solution. We appreciate your continued willingness to engage in dialogue and open conversation about this challenging situation. We believe that by working together all of us can arrive at a solution that delivers the needed electric power to your community.
“I appreciate the willingness of Georgia Transmission Corporation to study this project in exhaustive detail before any final decisions are made,” said Speaker David Ralston. “We all understand and appreciate the need to consider both our infrastructure requirements and preservation of the scenic beauty of our mountain region. My thanks to all involved for taking the time necessary to reach the best possible solution for our community.”
With the new updates, official letter from Gilmer County have responded to both Speaker Ralston and Senator Gooch for their efforts in the issue along with emails from citizens and residents.
That letter was originally a part of a resolution from the Board of Commissioners to support citizens in their concerns, but has become a letter of thanks in response to the news. Approved by the Board and signed by Gilmer County Commission Chairman Charlie Paris, the letters stated to each representative:
Dear Speaker Ralston,
I want to thank you for your response to the people of Boardtown Road, and for your efforts in asking Georgia Transmission to consider alternate routes. You have always been very responsive to the needs of the people of Gilmer County, and it is greatly appreciated.
I do understand the need for increased capacity and reliability of our electrical system, and also appreciate the effort by our EMCs and Georgia Transmission to address this need. Our Commissioners support the project but also feel that a path can be selected that would have less of an impact on quality of life and property values in the county. We do believe that an alternate path would be preferable and are grateful for GTC’s decision to take another look at these options.
Thank you for all that you do for the people of Gilmer County.
Dear Senator Gooch,
I want to express my gratitude for the support you offered to the people of Boardtown Road in Gilmer County, and for your efforts in asking Georgia Transmission to consider alternate routes. You have always been very responsive to the needs of the people of Gilmer County, and it is greatly appreciated.
I do understand the need for increased capacity and reliability of our electrical system, and also appreciate the effort by our EMCs and Georgia Transmission to address this need. Our Commissioners support the project but also feel that a path can be selected that would have less impact on quality of life and property values in the county. We do believe that an alternate path would be preferable and are grateful for GTC’s decision to take another look at these options.
Thank you for all that you do for the people of Gilmer County
At this time, the meetings will move forward and the representatives are looking into the issues of this project and ways “to preserve the natural beauty of areas in the mountain communities.”
Though it has been stated that the review and re-evaluation of the alternate paths will cause some delays, no specifics have been given at this time to how long those delays will be. Citizens are continuing to talk about the issue with the favorable news to their concerns, and are looking to continue pushing for awareness as the project moves forward and they await the outcome of the review.
I’ve read a lot of comments about the Boardtown/Whitepath project and there’s a lot of confused people. It will be a 46Kv system not 230Kv system like the 282 project. Common sense should tell you that the poles will be shorter and smaller than on 282. One lady said after the tropical storm she thought it took longer to get the power back on because of the big poles on Hwy. 282 were harder to access. If you look you will see that they are not connected to the power lines that go to houses. Until a substation is built on the west end of 282 the high voltage lines won’t be connect to the wooden poles. I’m sorry that people are upset but I’m afraid the alternate routes won’t be approved.