TransAlta believes in engaging communities where we have or are planning operations. Where we might be causing discontent, we aim to engage with those impacted and strive for mutually beneficial solutions.
With the acquisition of Canadian Hydro Developers in 2009, TransAlta immediately set about meeting with representatives of all communities new to the company. Outreach began in November and continued through the first quarter of 2010, and included:
- key community leaders
Every effort was made to introduce TransAlta and discuss high priority stakeholder issues.
TransAlta regularly hosts open houses. In 2009, open houses were held:
- to gather community feedback regarding our Kent Hills’ expansion
- regarding Keephills 3 which is currently under construction
- for mercury controls, and
- for mine planning
A stakeholder database is used to track and ensure timely responses to area concerns at our Alberta coal operations. This approach is being adopted elsewhere in the company in 2010.
TransAlta employees hosted a tour of reclaimed forest last summer, to demonstrate successful tree reforestation practices. TransAlta has planted more than half a million Douglas Fir and Red Alder on more than 2,600 acres of land previously disturbed for mining at Centralia.
In July of 2009, a group of representatives from the Alberta Utility Commission toured Blue Trail wind farm, near Fort McLeod, as well as nearby Summerview 2. The tour was organized to demonstrate pre-commissioning and construction, as the two sites were not yet operational, as well as to build relationships and hear potential stakeholder concerns and ideas for the projects.
TransAlta works with Aboriginal people across Canada. A new Aboriginal Relations policy was developed in 2009 that provides guidelines for relationship building and communications, and standardizes practices for all locations. The new policy aligns with the Canadian Aboriginal Business Council guidelines.
TransAlta and the Paul First Nation, located near our Alberta coal operations, have a relationship stretching back to when TransAlta’s first coal plant was built on the shores of Lake Wabamun more than 50 years ago. The two hold regular meetings at which potential partnerships, employment and education are discussed.
In 2009, as part of community consultation for the development of Ardenville wind farm, TransAlta undertook an archeological study. The process involved elders from the Piikani First Nation, who accompanied TransAlta representatives on a site tour that was coordinated with landowners by the company. They then conducted a validation ceremony. TransAlta representatives participated and observed the process of the archaeological information being passed on through song.
Wabamun, TransAlta’s oldest coal-fired power generation plant, ceased operation in early 2010. TransAlta is committed to ongoing and transparent communication throughout the Wabamun decommissioning process. The company will continue to use a variety of means to keep people informed and to solicit input, including regular updates on the project website, open houses, articles in the regional newsletter, Kilowatt Connection, and meetings with stakeholders. A comprehensive plan is in place to ensure regular communication with all concerned and affected parties.