Powerline route sparks threat to stud property
ONE of the highest profile cattle farms in the Southern Downs could lose a major portion of its land due to the proposed new "Route Five" Ergon Energy powerlines.
Ascot Cattle Co, which is on the historic North Toolburra Station and home to about 400 stud breeding females, is directly in the path of the proposed route.
While the route has a 2km corridor, the majority of the corridor still covers the company's land.
Joint owner Jackie Chard said the powerlines would make a major portion of the property unusable due to radiation.
"Research shows there are fertility issues with agriculture due to the radiation," Ms Chard said.
"If the powerlines go through the property, it would render those areas useless. It would really interfere with the business."
On top of the direct area where the powerlines run, Ms Chard said Ascot would have to leave a margin between the powerlines and the cattle.
"It's not just where the powerlines go, we might not be able to go within 500m of them," she said.
"That would mean there could be a 1km corridor of our property we could not use.
"We've got the cows and bulls, but we've also got a large pond with ducks and swans, down near the river bank there is also a lot of koalas and platypuses too."
"They would all be affected by the radiation."
It is not just the animals that would be affected either, fellow owner Jim Wedge said the airport would also be restricted.
"These powerlines could be a major restriction for the town," Mr Wedge said.
"That's something we want to get across - the bigger picture for the whole community. They might not be able to upgrade the airport in the future because of the powerlines.
"They could have to move the airport down the track if they need to expand it."
Ms Chard said the lines would also be dangerous for anyone flying in and out of the airport.
"We regularly have hang gliders fly over the house," she said.
"I called them up and asked why and they said they can only fly in from the east.
"How dangerous is that going to be if they have to fly in over 20m powerlines?
"You couldn't have that, it's too much of a risk."
Like many others, Ms Chard and Mr Wedge voiced their frustration at the lack of consultation with land owners in along line route five.
Mr Wedge said the government had made a mistake appointing the Community Reference Group because they did not have the appropriate skills and said it was not surprising the line route does not cross the property of any CRG members.