Concerned residents Lyn and Leon Despea.
Concerned residents Lyn and Leon Despea.

Gympie petitions over power lines

GYMPIE residents are up in arms after learning about Energex plans to install two large high-voltage power lines through their neighbourhoods.

News that 33,000 volts could be running through 15 kilometres of Gympie’s inner-urban streets came as a shock this week to many who live along that proposed route.

One of the power lines will cross Mary River from Nestle and follow the edge of developed land on the Southside before it crosses the river and flood-prone land to meet the Wises Road substation. However, the other proposed route will weave through city streets past a primary school.

WHILE Gympie Regional Mayor Ron Dyne meets with an Energex representative today to discuss the power upgrade, rate payers Leon and Lyn Despea hope there is still a chance to stop the power lines from being installed so close to homes and a school.

The Myall Street residents said they were speaking out from a health concern and added that the look of Gympie would also be ruined by the installation of 18 – 20 metre high poles through the heart of town.

“We are worried about the dangers of living under high voltage cables but it’s the school we are more concerned about,” they said.

The proposed route for the power line weaves its way through the north of town down to Monkland Street, then passes Despea’s home and heads up to Central Primary School before it continues along to Station Road and on to Wises Road.

“The poles are going to be an ugly sight but that is nothing compared to the health problems it could create,” Mr Despea said.

“How (is Council) going to promote Gympie as a pretty little town with big power lines running through it?” Mrs Despea add.

The couple and their neighbours were upset they had not been consulted about the project and only learned about it this week when they asked an Energex worker what he was doing placing markers up and down their street.

An Energex spokesperson said they conducted a thorough planning study which considered social, environmental, technical and financial implications.

A variety of options were considered including a number of routes and underground and overhead options but these were dismissed due to cost.

An updated flyer including the new route is expected to be sent to residents in the area soon but Mr and Mrs Despea say they will respond by starting a petition against the project.

Gympie Times

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