Powerlines will go ahead

Belinda Coppock, 14, Peter Nash, Vivienne Buttigieg, Jane Dear and Aldwyn Rostant protesting against proposed powerlines in Logan Village. Photo: Inga Williams / The Reporter
Belinda Coppock, 14, Peter Nash, Vivienne Buttigieg, Jane Dear and Aldwyn Rostant protesting against proposed powerlines in Logan Village. Photo: Inga Williams / The Reporter Inga Williams

THE construction of a second powerline stretching from Loganlea to Jimboomba will go ahead after the Minister for Energy Mark McArdle confirmed he would not backflip on his decision.

Speaking at a public forum held at Logan Village, Mr McArdle met with state politicians, Logan City Councillors and members from VETO to discuss why he had approved the controversial Energex powerline.

"My role as the Minister for Energy is to comply with the act and also deal with any applications that fall under the act conditions and obligations," Mr McArdle said.

"I did consider all of the factors that were put in front of me and I did also consider the obligation I have under the terms of the act to make a determination.

"I acknowledge there had been some community opposition to the project, however the reality is that taking no action would have left Logan without a reliable supply of electricity and placed the social and economic development of the region at risk.

"There are currently about 32,000 electricity customers in the Logan area at risk of power outages, with up to 9000 customers at risk of remaining without electricity for up to eight hours if there is an outage of the existing line.

"An independent report undertaken by Oakley Greenwood determined that this powerline is the most cost effective option to secure the region's electricity needs."

With preliminary works already under way, Mr McArdle said he had imposed six environmental conditions in recognition of issues raised by Logan City Council and the community.

"These conditions will specifically ensure that work on the powerline would be undertaken with best practice construction methods to mitigate social and environmental impacts," he said.

The conditions include minimal clearing of remnant vegetation, where possible, large trees in close proximity to the Logan River would be pruned rather than removed, the development of a riverbank protection strategy, measures to minimise the impact on visual amenity such as the use of green poles or shadowline conductors and like-for-like vegetation offsets undertaken with the Logan City Council.

Throughout the forum, Mr McArdle answered questions from the public who again raised their concerns.

But not everybody was happy with the minister's responses.

VETO president Paul Casbolt said the community had once again been left frustrated.

For the past four years, he and hundreds more have been opposing the powerline, opting for a substation to be built at Greenbank rather than powerlines be built through people's properties and across the Logan River.

"It is really unfortunate he made this decision without coming back to us with the Oakley Greenwood report," Mr Casbolt said.

"It was kept secret until the decision.

"I see that as an example of what we have had to put up with in the previous four years with Energex.

"It was always no consultation and now we see it repeated by the minister and that just frustrates the hell out of me.

"If he had come to us and said I can see some information in the Oakley Greenwood report which suggests I should approve this line, we would have given him the alternate views.

"Because there is a lot of information there that would support an alternative option."

The project is expected to be completed towards the end of 2014.

Topics:  power lines

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