Meeting with Western Power

A meeting was proposed for Saturday 18th August 2007 but representatives of PLUG eventually met with Western Power on 30th August 2007.

Minutes of Meeting
Held on 30th August at 6.30 pm
At the Le Grande Motel

PLUG: Liz Frusher, Keith Townsend, Michelle Doherty, Lynn Heppell, Bill and Liz Hollingworth.

Western Power Bill Bignell - Transmission Manager, Alan Enright and Jeff Hunter.

Bill H (PLUG) - stated there was limited notification and instruction to the Corridor Selection nominees regarding their roles.

Western Power contracted GHD to do the consultation process.

Both Western Power and GHD were responsible for the Mail out of information.

Keith T. (PLUG) - Right from the start Keith was told by Lyall Murphy that the corridors could not go through his area as it was too dense with too many landholders. As Keith thought this information true he didn't think he needed to go to the Consultation meeting.

Jeff H. (WP) - At this stage they didn't know where the corridors were going.

Michelle D (PLUG) - The Consultation Committee was made up of half Western Power reps and half landholders - this is not a good representation of the Community. Also the corridor lines were not in the correct positions - they were different from the original lines drawn. Bill H. who was on the Selection Committee. He would not choose two corridors through his property.

Alan E (WP) - Did admit the process was flawed and their mail drop was poor.

Bill H (PLUG) - One of the lines cross over the end of the Emergency airstrip on Eulup/Manurup Road.

Keith (PLUG) - No one has been advised whether it will be poles or towers.

Jeff H (WP) - Towers will be used for this project.

Michelle D (PLUG) - It was not clarified that Grange was in our line. Answer: GHD stated Grange was being incorporated in our line.

Bill B (WP) - The Grange to North Stirling is separate to the Albany line. This is under environmental review. Grange can't set their process in motion. The dates will move.

Lyn H (PLUG) - we understood the word 'upgrade' meant the old line was being upgraded - not a new corridor was being created.

Jeff H (WP) - It will be a double circuit line. A double circuit has 8 power lines. 1 pole has two power lines on it. They would have to build a new one. There are security issues regarding this.

Lynn H. (PLUG) - You would have a hard time getting EPA approval because of the following reasons:-
Where the proposed lines are intended to go - you will be clearing land in National Parks, Conservation Reserve, Waterways (which are no go areas) it crosses the Hay River three times, goes through pristine areas. The EPA would not allow it. Using the existing line is a better option. It would be cheaper and makes more sense.The migrating of birds on the West side of the Albany Hwy would be interrupted. Wetlands would be affected as well as the Gondwana Link, Fitzgerald National Park, Wilson Inlet Catchment. The corridors go through these areas. These are strong environmental points to be considered.

Alan E (WP) - We can build the towers over these areas. They can demonstrate and show the EPA they can go over - an example of them doing this is the Capel River.

Bill B (WP) - Asked if Lynn H. had documentation regarding migratory birds and the affect of EMF on birds. Lynn could show them the documentation.

Bill B. (WP) stated the towers are higher and more spread out so has no affect on birds.

The Community said they don't want the lines in National Parks.

Keith T (PLUG) - 7 million dollars have been spent on conservation - 3 million from the Government.

Bill H (PLUG) - Asked who sets the criteria for selecting the corridors at the beginning. Who sets the constraints? The Community was not consulted.

Jeff H (WP) - Western Power did set these constraints without public consultation. Jeff thought that clearing would add more value to properties, ie firebreaks etc.

Lyn H (PLUG) - We need to use existing line. No more land clearing in our area. The three options are not appropriate for the Environment.

Michelle D (PLUG) - Have you done an environmental impact study? Answer: No.

Allan E. (WP) - The values of clearing land are different eg: Broadacre farming compared to small lifestyle blocks.

Keith T (PLUG) - These lines will add up to $50 million in devaluation.

Bill H (PLUG) - If we had a concrete pole-line - can it be re-engineered to suit?. Answer:- The old line would have to come down as it would be too heavy. The poles would be 300-400 m apart. Would need 4 times as many poles than towers. Steel poles (330Kv) can be used instead of towers eg Roe Highway.

Michelle D (PLUG) - The consultation process is terrible. We had 10 days to organize a forum; over 150 people attended proving a community response can be organised quickly.

Lynn H (PLUG) - We sent people who attended the forum the minutes of that meeting. We have had no feedback from WP regarding questions we asked at the Workshops. Information is very poor. Leah advised they would answer questions and send back information. This has not been done.

Bill H (PLUG) - What is the guaranteed setback distance from residence. Answer: - hopefully 500m.
How do we get accurate information? There are too many variables. Can we work towards a fixed guaranteed minimum distance?

Jeff H (WP) - We can't do that.

Liz F (PLUG) - Western Power needs to get extremely detailed and up to date maps with buildings, tree plantations and reserves before doing anything else.

Jeff H (WP) - It would be too expensive. Would cost $120 to $150,000 to get updated maps. It would take 2 years to colate information. They havent got that much time.

Michelle D (PLUG) - advised they could get updated information from Shires, landcare groups etc.

Lynn H (PLUG) - The lines would create a huge devaluation of property.

Alan E (WP) - Not necessarily. They have had positive comments on compensation claims.

Michelle D (PLUG) - People from Kojonup to Albany are extremely concerned.

Bill B (WP) - Admitted people do not want these corridors. It is pitting communities against communities.

Alan E (WP) - Anyone who owns small properties will not be happy.

Michelle D (PLUG) - We need answers not conflicts.

Jeff H (WP) - People wouldn't listen to our answers and before they could finish went onto another question.

Lynn H (PLUG) - What is the likelihood of the corridors going through this area. Answer: 99% sure that one of the corridors will go through our properties.

Keith T. (PLUG) - you can't do planning until Grange has decided what they want. Answer: - We have to start the process now.

Michelle D (PLUG)

  • Is Grange dictating our line. Answer: No.
  • Does capacity depend on Grange (eg size of tower) Answer:- Yes.
  • Are you going to do a Social impact study - Answer: Don't know.

Liz F (PLUG) - We demand a Social impact study be done by CENRM - Doctor Colin MacGregor can do it. We also require a Primary Production Impact study be carried out. We can give contact details to WP so they can carry out these studies. The maps need updating. Jeff said it would cost millions.

Lyn H (PLUG) - got more up to date maps from DoLI (Landgate). They are better than WP's. The maps they supplied for this area were done in 2001.

Bill H (PLUG) - The Pre-Corridor Selection panel did not have enough advice and information given. The training was inadequate for such a task. There is too much responsibility put on our shoulders. We need professionals advising the corridor selection panel.

Jeff H (WP) - We should have picked the corridors after asking landholders.

Bill said there are different values and there should be more input from the Community.

Bill H (PLUG) - Can we set a minimum distance from residences? There is mistrust from the public over WP advice on EMF affects on people. How the workshops were run- Questions were not answered that were written down on the board.

Michelle D (PLUG) - Right from the beginning the consultation process was ineffective. Website information was poor. We received no direct answers. People were turned away from workshops.

Jeff H (WP) - We did put on extra workshops.

Liz F (PLUG) - GHD didn't want many people at the workshops.

Lyn H (PLUG) - At our public question forum everything went smoothly. We were able to get all information from the attendees.

Jeff H (WP)

  1. There will still be a selection of three corridors.
  2. Using existing line is not likely.
  3. They need valid information before conducting impact studies.

Keith T (PLUG) - Can you explain the security issues in regard to using the existing line?

Jeff H (WP) - It is an upgrade. A dual circuit has security concerns. Albany is getting (80-82KV?). Two lines in parallel is OK.

Bill B (WP) - In the long term you wouldn't have enough power. Even using extra wind power and biomass power. Albany would not survive a power failure.

Michelle D (PLUG) - Is the sub-station on Down Road - it is for Lignor and to supply power to the industrial area? Answer - If Grange does not go ahead the line will go direct to Albany.
There is minimal compensation for each tower.

Jeff H (WP) - He suggests getting your own valuation. They would only consider that bit of land they cleared for the towers. To calculate devaluation you need to value a property with the towers and then one without them to find the value lost.

Alan E (WP) - There is less impact going through plantations than small landlholders. Valuers have to be licensed. WP will give a list of valuers.

Michelle D. (PLUG) - At the workshops Leah was not a good facilitator. 800 landholders are affected - Only 200 could go to workshops. The mailout was not effective.

Alan E (WP) - admitted they had not done a proper mail-out and there are flaws in the process. Should start again.

Liz H (PLUG) - Will you consider changing the corridors? Answer: unlikely. The corridor will be selected at the end of September.

Meeting closed at 9.15 pm.