Public Meeting

A Community Forum was held on 25th July 2007, with 137 attendees. The object of this forum was to document questions and issues raised by the attendees in order to present them to Western Power.

Minutes from the meeting:

POWER LINE UPGRADE GROUP (PLUG)
COMMUNITY FORUM
Held at the
PLANTAGENET DISRICT HALL
On WEDNESDAY 25TH JULY, 2007 at 7.30 pm

PRESENT:

Ross Ford, Bill Sounness, B. Cann, Paul Dunham, Grey Warburton, Ian Mackie, Bevan Lane, Tracey Lane, Sheryn Howard, Sheryl Reynolds, Sharon & Craig Lynch, Greg Sounness, Francis Billeskov, Paul Billeskov, Trevor Hambley, Bill Bentley, Mike Coffey, David Newbury, Noel Grundy, Coralie Grundy, Peter Eades, Shaun Mullally, Graham & Jan Ravenhill, W. Tognetti, Warrick Cooper, Jeff Moir, Dean Trotter, Jacqui Hamblin, Michael Hamblin, Simon Grylls, Gary Hastie, Michelle Doherty, Jim Saunders, Gussie Saunders, John Fisher, Diane Fisher, Carlien Trotter, T. Allison, I Bunn, R. Bunn, M. Bunn, D. Bunn, Len Handasyde, R & P Sounness, Elaine Squire, Jeff Squire, Stuart Irwin, Jan Taylor, Alex Taylor, Edna Turner, John Caley, John Treasure, Kathy Caley, Kevin Forbes, Tim Miller, M Lanigan, M. Cindy, G. Messmer, B. Dowse, S. Beech, V. Wynne, D. Colbung, M. Cooper, R. Stoney, N. Stoney, N. Grundy, C. Grundy, Syd Atkinson, M. Atkinson, A. Janes, S. Janes, J. Dennis, T. Bell, D. Healy, Marilyn Mullally, Vicki Smith, Tony Smith, Sandi Grylls, P. Wallinger, Gillian Cuss, Mike Cuss, W. Moore, Jamie Nunn, Lyn Cann, Joshua Bunn, Gloria Hoult, Diana Hanson, John Hanson, Keith Townsend, Simon Tracey, Linda Gray, Liz Frusher, Graeme Frusher, Charlie Hick, Max Frusher, Eileen Thill, Peter Thill, Liz Hollingworth, Bill Hollingworth, Murray Anning, Richard O'Connor, Marg Hick, Kerry Frost, Sue Schleicher, Neville Schleicher, Ian Reynolds, Maria Reynolds, Vanessa Bogart, Ben Bogart, J Frost, M. Edwards, Sally O'Callahan, Simon Jenkins, Lisa Lynch, John Rodgers, John Butler, Bob Parsons, B. Newby, D. Newby, David Slade, Lyn Slade, Greg Stothard, John Pugh, Alex Pugh, Clare Pugh, D & E Baxter, Jan Pope, Nicole Townsend, Stephen Frost, Murray Hollingworth, Lyn Heppell. Jane and Don Orchard

Chairman Bill Hollingworth opened the forum and welcomed everyone.

Bills opening address: -

On behalf of our Community Action Group, PLUG, I would like to welcome you here tonight. Our group of mainly South Narrikup and North Redmond landholders formed once we realized we would be affected by one or more of the proposed Transmission line corridors. The corridors are to contain a power line vital for the expected increase in electricity demand over the next few decades. The increased supply will be required by 2011 and is intended to reinforce the existing supply. The line will be a 220 Kilovolt line between Kojonup and Albany. The line may also supply power to the Grange Resources Mine at Wellstead East of Albany through a planned sub-station in the Mirembeena area.

This meeting is to let Western Power know we are not happy. We may be accused of being NIMBY'S.

We believe the main issue is that the community consultation is flawed.

Bill outlined the question and discussion process:

We are unable to respond to questions. We do not have a panel of experts. This forum is outside of the Western Power process. We will document the questions from tonight and present them to Western Power on behalf of the forum. We urge as many concerned people as possible attend the Western Power Workshops. Ask more questions and propose possible scenarios that will affect you and your neighbours. As a community group we are concerned that the values we appreciate, the very reason we live in a relatively unspoilt region, will be preserved. We can move forward, however we can do this with caution and weigh our decisions carefully.

Bill asked everyone to fill in the attendance register and advised there were details and maps available.

We acknowledge the South coast region will need an increased base-load power supply. It is the route selection process we feel needs reviewing and the level of landholder participation increased. There are too many landholders unaware of the impact this line will have. We also acknowledge this process is extremely complex and will not be resolved easily; it is like juggling table-tennis balls in a strong wind. However it will need to be resolved.

I must emphasize this meeting is NOT a Plantagenet Shire organized meeting however the Shire CEO has, under delegation from the Council, allowed us to use this venue without charge for a community meeting.

I am involved as a landholder affected by both the Red and Blue corridors. I am also one of the select group who has NOT been notified (until yesterday after a telephone request to Western Power) of our properties status. Even though I was involved in both the initial discussion groups in May. Along with Shire President Kevin Forbes and Councillor Jeff Moir I was also involved in the unusual corridor selection process held in Cranbrook. Even with this involvement still no direct notification, however Western Power have still been able to locate me to deliver my power bills.

The transmission line will affect us all in the following ways:-

  1. Aesthetics
  2. Land values
  3. Impact on existing conservation work
  4. Health
  5. Potential subdivision planning
  6. Pit neighbour against neighbour when they seek individually negotiated outcomes.

We are concerned at the poor and out-to-date information Western Power has been using in the planning process so far. It is alarming that a so-called modern service provider is unable to access maps that are easily available to other planning agencies and private enterprise. If the initial information is faulty, what else is incorrect?

The issues are diverse and complex: -

Bill explained the Rules associated with Question Time.

  • Please stand when you begin; state your name and approximately where you live.
  • Limit your question or discussion to a single point issue.
  • Limit your point to 30 seconds to allow others an opportunity to express their point of view.
  • You may also submit written questions and comments.
  • Please temper your emotions; we are all after the same outcome.

Bill asked Kevin Forbes to explain the corridor selection process.

Kevin Forbes stated: - There was a public meeting at Kojonup. The attendance was poor. Kevin said the line must come through Kojonup to Albany. Each meeting has to have a steering committee - Bill Hollingworth, Kevin Forbes and Jeff Moir were involved. As yet the steering committee still doesn't understand the corridor selection process and where would we like the corridors to go. Kevin said the Council has not been involved and it is purely a community forum.

QUESTIONS COMMENCED

Sean Reynolds
What are the reasons behind the corridors being West of the Highway? Also the present corridor can't be used because the power lines can't be aligned next to each other.
My understanding is that is not the reason- I spoke to an expert at Murdoch University who advised that there is no technical reason why the 3 lines cannot be aligned on the same tower. What is the real reason?

Gert Messmer
I would be affected by the blue corridor. I was wondering if the lines interfere with each other then they must interfere with the people who live with them.
Who comes first? Health issues are a concern.

Michel Cuss - Narrikup
Why can't the existing powerline be used?
My understanding is similar to Sean, that they could use the existing corridor; it would be like widening the road. They could put it up a section at a time. I do feel that they are taking the easy option, and I would like to see more original thought going into the upgrade.

Jeff Moir - Narrikup
I was on the Corridor Selection Panel.
A couple of options - in response to one of the first questions, - One of the reasons not to run alongside the old line was that if one line went down it would take the other line with it. The second option, they do not consider the existing line ideal, it was designed from Point A to Point B with little consultation re: vegetation or houses under the line.

Noel Grundy
I am speaking on behalf of the Redmond Progress Association. I have two corridors going through my residence. The whole consultation process if flawed. Energy is a commodity, Western Power is a Government Organization, in a couple of years it won't be that either. What are the legalities of reaching into someone's personal bank account? Let them purchase a corridor to put their commodity through. They have to consult individual landholders.

Sandi Grylls
I have heard that under a corridor of 250 metres nothing can be grown above 2 metres. Also if you have a tree crop, house or vineyard under the power line, is there compensation for that. We need Western Power to clarify this.

Margaret Cooper
We have the yellow corridor going right through our block. We have fenced bush to try and preserve it, as well as being surrounded by blue gum crops. I don't know if they will be going through that? There is also doublegees in some areas - how are they going to prevent the spreading of these.

Carlien Trotter - Perillup
I believe a feasibility study was done by Telstra to put power and telephone lines underground. Telstra have done this, it was assessed but thrown out because people would lose their jobs if power went underground. I wonder if that information is still available. We should be finding another solution than block the whole thing.

Keith Townsend
A good question was asked about what would happen if all the power was sent on this line. If one line goes down all go down. We have to look outside the square. It is all coming from Muja, WP talk about security by not having two lines together; what happens if we have an industrial disaster?

Sheryn Howard - West Kendenup
Will they take into account the airstrips that will be under these lines?

Jamie Nunn - Porongurups
Is it possible to have a show of hands of the people that have not received documentation from Western Power that will be affected by the corridors?

Peter Eades - Redmond
There are 3 corridors going through my property.
Some 9-10 months ago we were requested to put comments in on a biodynamic power station at Mount Romance.
I suggest that if they want power at Wellstead they build it at Wellstead. If they need power in Albany they consider more windfarms. No one wants powerlines put through their property.

Maria Reynolds - Narrikup
How many people received their April flyer in with their July flyer. We received the whole package together, which is useless to us. They have got the location numbers incorrect. The information is wrong. How can they keep lines 500 metres from houses (re: subdivision) when they don't know where the houses are going to be?

Charlie Hick
I rang people up the other day when I received notification. I am concerned how the process was going to happen. They suggested that there should be limited numbers, that if Narrikup was going to be crowded out they may limit their numbers. This affected everyone so numbers should not be limited at all.
Everyone is concerned.
National Parks are out of bounds re: corridors being put through them.

Ian Reynolds - Narrikup
In response to Narrikup being crowded out, I was phoned up and asked to change the day to control the numbers. I said No. They now have two workshops at Narrikup, perhaps more.

Steve Frost
The three lines are through his property.
We have one of the most successful Landcare groups in this area. We have covenants on private property, bush corridors and people who have been looking after their bush and do not want it cleared (50 metres clearing) eg: The Haywash Reserve and others should not have any clearing done. Wouldn't gas be a better alternative? The easier route would be from Kojonup to Wellstead.

Vanessa Reynolds
If power pylons are banned in USA and have to be underground - shouldn't we follow America in this matter?

Chris Pavlovich
Wouldn't additional wind turbines cater for the additional power needed for Albany?

Michael Cuss
This needs to be considered much more carefully by Western Power. When meetings arise we must consider any off beat options.

Lyn Slade - North West Mount Barker
Please expand on the role of the Selection Committee and explain the corridor selection process. Chairman Bill Hollingworth explained the process so far. I feel it is not fair on stakeholders to select the corridors. The process is flawed and needs to be reviewed.

Neville Schleicher
Western Power Haven't checked lines at all. No reports have been issued.

Michelle Doherty
Our PLUG group was formed because we are angry at the corridors going through our places. When is Western Power going to explain to all landholders what is going on. We need support. They have to consider our values.

Lynn Heppell
It is not only the landholders that value this area; the Federal and State Governments have put in three million dollars to protect our environment. I suggest that they talk to Western Power about how much value they place on the Wilson Inlet Catchment.

Gussy Saunders Is there a scientific reason why the power lines affect native fauna? I agree that areas put under covenant should be protected, but there is a much larger area of bush where a 500-metre corridor won't really matter (Redmond National Park)
Do kangaroos have more votes than us?

Diana Hansel - Narrikup
We are concerned with these meetings that are being held in different areas - can you tell me the Agenda and are we being manipulated.

Noel Grundy
What are the legal implications if we protest to a line going through our property?

Brian Cooper - Kojonup-Frankland
I am affected by the red line.
I attended a workshop in Kojonup and it was limited to 25 people each. Spin Doctors were out in force. They sat us down and gave us a list of criteria. Eg. effect on business, flora etc and asked us to rank these points of importance. Apparently they take this information and use it to work out the selection of corridors. Western Power says they couldn't send information to landholders as they say 'they didn't know where they were'
I asked who else was on the selection panel and was told it was confidential. The meeting ended up very acrimoniously.

Jan Pope - Cranbrook
I was on the selection panel. We were left feeling quite confused.
The member for Roe - Mr Graham Jacobs has put a Private Members Bill to bring the gas pipe-line from Bunbury to Albany and to have a power station built in Albany. He would like to continue with this Bill. If anyone wants to give him support, it would be a good idea.
At the Selection Panel meeting we didn't have the opportunity to look at any other options eg: underground, gas etc. We need to look at these options and go to the Western Power meetings. Cranbrook/Frankland are not so concerned as they have broader acreage.


There was a 20-minute break for supper and general discussion.

Bill reminded everyone to tell politicians and Western Power with letters of concern. Ask lots of questions and get straight answers.

Questions and comments continued.

Jim Saunders
On your power bill there is an Energy Ombudsman. Can you call them with issues? Yes.

Noel Stoney - Redmond
Grange seems to have created this dilemma at the moment; my perspective is that the energy source should not have to come through a heavily populated area.

Kevin Forbes advised that the line was scheduled to go in by 2011 regardless of Grange.

David Slade
I think we must stick together as a group - it would get better results.

Keith Townsend
I spoke to Western Power and they said to me it wasn't going to go through this part of Narrikup. They tell complete lies. They will try and divide you; we have to say that we don't want any of these corridors - stick together. GHD are a slick group so we must stick together and say we don't want any of this.

Charlie Hicks
Along these lines I would like to move a motion we will not accept numbers being limited at the workshops everyone in the community has a right to attend and have a say.

Michael Cuss
Would it be appropriate tonight to set a format on how we are going to combat that if they split us into small groups? Bill said to still go to the workshop session and then groups come together and discuss issues.

Richard Bunn
An option is to make it a political issue.
Make our own agenda eg: options such as a buried gas pipeline.

Sandi Grylls
Our farm is not included in any of the corridors but the photos are out of date. My question to Western Power is how old are the maps, and did they actually look or just draw the lines?
I would like to put the question that it would be better to go with the biodynamic power station and wind farm opposed to the Collie coal fired power station. We need to voice our concerns to the Minister of Power as well as Western Power and show our distaste of this process.

Michelle Doherty
I have established contact with a few environmental departments and other government bodies and they have less information than I have. Why hasn't Western Power made contact with our Environmental Departments and worked more efficiently with them?

Bill asked for a show of hands in favour of the proposed power lines. The vote was unanimously zero and everyone is not happy with the current corridor selection.

Gray Warburton
We have vineyards West of Mount Barker.
Do we advise our workers about the health issues of working under these power lines? Does Western Power have guidelines for working under powerlines?


Chairman - Bill Hollingworth thanked everyone for their support. He also thanked Lynn Heppell for providing the supper.

Approximately 150 people attended.

To send letter of concern please contact: -

Western Power
Attention: Doug Aberie
GPO L921
Perth WA 6842

Also the Member for Roe: Graham Jacobs Ph: 90716555

For further information Email: plug.group@hotmail.com

The meeting ended at approximately 9.30 pm.