News

People power to rule

The power of the people will ensure community members are satisfied with the final plans for the Warwick to Stanthorpe power line.
The power of the people will ensure community members are satisfied with the final plans for the Warwick to Stanthorpe power line. AAP IMAGE

AS THE proposed power line from Warwick to Stanthorpe cements itself as a reality, the power of the people will ensure community members are satisfied with the final plans.

A special meeting was held on Tuesday night to discuss the desired format of the community reference group that was to be formed.

Facilitator John Dengate said he was impressed with the way the four-hour meeting turned out.

"The willingness of the group to step into this rather difficult process was great and by the end of the night people saw what we were doing," he said.

"I was impressed with the outcomes and advice they gave about the community reference group and what it should include.

"They came up with a range of elements and I will use their recommendations to draft reference criteria for the community reference group.

"That then needs to be approved by the group and I will seek endorsement from Lawrence Springborg as well.

"There is no set timeline on the group but at the moment we are looking at between eight and 15 members to make a manageable group but final numbers will depend on what criteria we need to meet to achieve a balance."

Mr Dengate said the 46 people who attended the meeting nominated themselves at the previous drop-in sessions and included members from AWARE, emotionally invested people and others who were more impartial.

Two Ergon Energy representatives also attended.

"Together they looked at their experiences of when similar decisions were made in the past to identify elements that would give them confidence," he said.

"Principles such as transparency, knowledge and clear outcomes were raised as things the community reference group needs to have for the community to have faith in it.

"They also worked on other important elements to provide confidence and an example is finding a balance between those who are emotionally involved and those who are not.

"The inclusion of the knowledge of experts in the fields of environment, heritage and health were also raised."

While talks continue about the plans for the new powerline, inspections are about to begin on the current 110kV Warwick to Stanthorpe powerline.

Ergon Energy area operations manager Matt Gleeson said some areas near the powerline would be inspected for weeds or protected vegetation and fauna before cross-arm upgrades commenced.

"Then an Ergon Energy contractor will inspect the 400 poles on this line route, including taking photographs and measurements, to assist with the design work for the replacement of the cross-arms," he said

The replacement of the cross-arms is not due to start until mid-2013 and is not related to the proposed second powerline from Warwick to Stanthorpe.

Topics:  community, people power, power line



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