Mayor slams plug pulled on $60m powerline
SOUTHERN Downs mayor Peter Blundell has slammed the decision of Queensland Minister for Mining and Energy Mark McArdle to scrap the $60 million Warwick to Stanthorpe 110kV powerline project.
Mr McArdle announced on Saturday the project wouldn't go ahead, bringing an end to over a year of intense discussions between residents and Ergon Energy, with the current 33kV line to be upgraded instead.
However, Cr Blundell said the powerline was crucial to the region.
"Last week I met with Ergon Energy representatives and I am extremely disappointed the project is not going ahead," he said.
"I understand the points raised by the Ergon representatives. However, our position has always been that it would be the worst possible outcome if the project was shelved and this seems to be the case.
"Ergon have advised that they believe power needs will be adequately provided by the arrangements put in place (new voltage regulator) but this remains to be seen."
Meanwhile, Warwick Aero Club and Queensland Recreational Aircraft Association president Kelvin Hutchinson said he supported the decision.
Concerns about aviation safety were raised by Mr Hutchinson, along with others, throughout consultation with Ergon, with route five to go near Massie Aerodrome.
"Good logic has prevailed," Mr Hutchinson said.
"There are people aged 14-18 flying regularly and (a possible new powerline) was a worry.
"We also have students within the gliding fraternity who operate out of Massie Aerodrome."
Another issue in regards to route five was future expansion of the aerodrome.
Residents were concerned the powerlines would inhibit future expansion and curtail plans that could create more jobs and boost the economy. Mr Hutchinson said he expected there to be expansion.
"My understanding is there will be expansion plans in the future and the powerlines might have inhibited them," he said.
Mr Blundell said council had expressed concerns in regard to possible future expansion of the airport but at no point did they suggest the project should not go ahead.