THE highly controversial Woolooga to Eewah Vale electricity transmission line upgrade will be less controversial in the Gympie Region, with the route following existing easements.
Only towards its southern end, between Ridgewood and Eewah Vale does it move over new territory, including a large area of private land.
The planned powerline will move from there east to a planned new substantion, on the North Maroochy River, on the immediate west of the Bruce Highway between Eumundi and Cooroy.
However, the transmission line owner, Powerlink, says anyone with an interest in the project can make submissions on its latest phase, with a June 9 deadline.
Powerlink’s chief operating officer Simon Bartlett said the government-owned company was now in the final stages of applying for “Ministerial designation” of its easement areas.
He said the upgrade was needed “to meet the growing electricity demand in the large area encompassing the northern Sunshine Coast, Gympie and surrounds.”
The easement will run from the existing Woolooga sub station near the Wide Bay Highway.
The upgrade will be needed by 2014, he said, to ensure reliable supplies for the area from the Maroochy River north and west to Kenilworth, Imbil, Amamoor, Gympie, Rainbow Beach and Tin Can Bay.
He said the designation of land for the line followed a “detailed environmental assessment process and related community consultation.”
That consultation has attracted significant protest from landowners and environmentalists in the most seriously affected area, between Eumundi and west of Belli.
“The final Environmental Impact Statement confirms that, with the proposed mitigation methods which Powerlink will implement during the construction and operation of the new line and substation, there are no environmental factors that prevent the project from proceeding,” he said.
“About 90 per cent of the new powerline is expected to be located beside the existing line on existing easements, which run southwards from Woolooga.
“New 60m wide easements are required from the final 8.5km of line, which will provide the link from the existing easements located west of Cooroy to the proposed new substantion at Eewah Vale. There, it is planned to link the new line with the existing Energex 132kV line.
The proposal, advertised in yesterday’s The Gympie Times, involves full consideration of all submissions made by deadline, Mr Bartlett said.