Craig Warhurst

Energex to rethink powerline route

WHETHER magnetic and electric fields generated from overhead powerlines harm human health appears to be the main worry for Gympie residents living near the route of proposed high-voltage powerlines.

Member for Gympie David Gibson told The Gympie Times yesterday that residents would have a chance to voice their concerns after he met with Energex representatives at Parliament House this week to discuss community resistance to the inner-suburban project and secured a commitment from them that all current plans would be put on hold.

“Energex has agreed to re-examine all options and that means no route is final and we now have time to provide community feedback,” Mr Gibson said.

“The public now has the opportunity to provide written comments to my office and we will ensure that they are provided to Energex.”

He added it was very apparent that the draft plan had met with community resistance and this was reflected in the number of people contacting his office over the past week, expressing their reservations and fears.

“Concerns have been raised with me about high voltage power lines and health issues, property values, proximity to the school and the overall impact on the look of the city,” he said.

Energex reiterated that more power lines were needed due to increased energy demands in the area.

Mr Gibson said he wanted to ensure that the community had a chance to be heard on all alternative options to supply the power required for the future, including the “undergrounding” of the powerlines.

However, there was a significantly higher cost involved with the installation of an underground route.

“I am advised that an above ground route would cost about $3.5 million, while the cost of an underground route could exceed $11 million,” he said.

“The question of who pays for the cost difference is one we need to be willing to discuss at a time of rising electricity prices ... are we prepared to place further pressure on power bills by undergrounding the power lines?”

People concerned about the powerlines can contact Mr Gibson’s office at PO Box 1277, Gympie or by email at Gympie@parliament.qld.gov.au.

Gympie Times


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