Springborg stands by Ergon consultation on new powerline

LOCAL member Lawrence Springborg has defended the consultation process used by Ergon Energy over its planned new high voltage powerline from Warwick to Stanthorpe.

In a statement released yesterday Mr Springborg said he had personally met with Ergon officials to ensure all landholders were communicated with at every step of the process.

His comments are at odds with landowners along the proposed line route to the north and west of Warwick, many of whom claim they have been left in the dark until recent weeks.

"Information provided to me indicates that landowners on route five have received several pieces of communication, coupled with coverage in the Warwick Daily News," Mr Springborg said.

"I understand that face-to-face meetings are available at any landowner's request.

"The final decision is still a long way off and, as previously stated, I urge all concerned persons to talk to Ergon about their concerns."

Mr Springborg also refuted concerns raised by Jim Wedge of Ascot Cattle Company about the effect of powerline electro-magnetic radiation on the fertility and movements of valuable breeding stock.

The Southern Downs MP said the powerline would not preclude anyone from grazing or farming underneath it.

"People farm and graze under powerlines all the time, wherever they are located, including on our own property where we graze under power- lines," Mr Springborg said.

Mr Wedge - part of whose North Toolburra property at Massie and the neighbouring airport are within the two kilometre-wide powerline corridor - has been vocal with his concerns about Ergon's consultation and the physical effects of the powerline.

"The State Government and Ergon have not looked at the big picture before handing over the process to people with no expertise to choose the power line route, in the form of the Community Reference Group," Mr Wedge said.

"The route selected by the CRG has the potential to restrict Warwick's future growth as it could possibly conflict with any airport expansion in the future.

"It will potentially cost all taxpayers an extra $20 million plus compensation by taking such a large detour around Warwick.

"It will also cause significant damage to high value riparian areas on the Condamine River, as identified by the Condamine Alliance, and the adjacent lagoon."

Mr Wedge, who has vowed to fight route five tooth and nail, has also raised concerns about the health of his manager and family whose house is in close proximity to the potential line, with his manager's wife already being treated for breast cancer.

"There will also be a loss of value in a prime potential subdivisional area of my property facing the main road," he said.

Mr Wedge believes other routes already identified would be cheaper.

"If a more businesslike process had been followed from the start much cost and heartache would have been saved," he said.

Route five - which will require extensive land resumptions - was chosen last year by the CRG, made up of local landowners potentially affected by the plan, despite other routes already on existing easements and heading due south from Warwick.

Other landowners have been critical of the CRG, claiming they chose route five to keep the line away from their own properties.

Specific locations of 20-metre pylons within the powerline corridor are yet to be determined.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) yesterday said it had no direct involvement with the powerline.

"The local council as the aerodrome operator has responsibility to ensure developments do not encroach on the aerodrome," a CASA spokesman said.

"Council should also be aware of the means of determining maximum safe heights and distances which structures can be built to and from the aerodrome."

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