Fur­ther $2 mil­lion to sink power lines

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr

Un­der­ground­ing of Onslow’s power net­work will be­gin in March af­ter the Shire of Ash­bur­ton com­mit­ted $2 mil­lion to the $8.4 mil­lion project to help bring the new in­fra­struc­ture to town.

The Pil­bara Un­der­ground Power Project has con­nected 2537 lots in South Hed­land, Wedge­field, Roe­bourne and Kar­ratha to date, re­plac­ing age­ing over­head in­fra­struc­ture with un­der­ground net­works which are touted as a se­cure al­ter­na­tive dur­ing ad­verse weather.

De­spite some level of angst in Kar­ratha af­ter cost blowouts as­so­ci­ated with the project, a sur­vey run by the Shire of Ash­bur­ton showed over­whelm­ing com­mu­nity sup­port for the project to pro­ceed in Onslow. Of 641 re­spon­dents to the sur­vey, 12 did not sup­port the project.

Shire Pres­i­dent Kerry White said un­der­ground­ing power was an im­por­tant step in the trans­for­ma­tion of Onslow into a cy­clone­proof town.

“Given our lo­ca­tion and his­tory the ma­jor­ity of Onslow has, over the years, been trans­formed to meet high cyclone stan­dards,” she said.

“An un­der­ground power net­work is an im­por­tant step in min­imis­ing the dam­age and dis­rup­tion, en­sur­ing every­one’s safety and well-be­ing.”

$800,000 of the Shire’s fund­ing com­po­nent will be funded by landown­ers, ap­prox­i­mately 9.5 per­cent of the to­tal project cost. The rest of the $2,102,258 will come from the Chevron-op­er­ated Wheat­stone Project ($900,000) and in­ter­nal funds ($400,000).

Pil­bara Devel­op­ment Com­mis­sion chief ex­ec­u­tive Terry Hill said the project was a key part of the Pil­bara Cities ini­tia­tive.

“Onslow is quickly be­com­ing the oil and gas epi­cen­tre of Aus­tralia; with that comes more jobs and more peo­ple mov­ing to the coastal town,” he said.

“It is es­sen­tial that all Pil­bara towns have ad­e­quate core in­fra­struc­ture, such as power, to sup­port the grow­ing pop­u­la­tion and eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity.”

It is an­tic­i­pated that works for un­der­ground power will be com­pleted mid 2018.

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