Town opts to go it alone

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Fashion - By GIO­VANNI TORRE

THE Town of Clare­mont will be fully con­nected to un­der­ground power af­ter the coun­cil voted to com­plete the process with­out State Gov­ern­ment as­sis­tance.

Hav­ing been un­suc­cess­ful in ap­pli­ca­tions to the State Gov­ern­ment Un­der­ground Power Pro­gram, the coun­cil re­solved in Fe­bru­ary to ex­am­ine the fea­si­bil­ity of go­ing it alone.

The Town en­gaged Western Power to pro­vide a pre­lim­i­nary de­sign and pric­ing es­ti­mate, and in May ap­proved a com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion process with af­fected prop­erty own­ers.

The Western Power quote es­ti­mated a cost rang­ing from $8.9 mil­lion to $10.9m.

The Town sur­veyed 1053 prop­er­ties and of the 528 who re­sponded, 80.1 per cent said ‘yes’ to un­der­ground power, with house­holds pay­ing for one third of the cost in in­stal­ments and the Town pay­ing the bal­ance.

The coun­cil has saved up for the project by es­tab­lish­ing a UGP re­serve, which now holds $3m, and it will need to fund $4.5m from mu­nic­i­pal funds.

Rather than use the Fu­ture Fund Re­serve, the coun­cil has opted for a Trea­sury loan to be paid off over 20 years, at an in­ter­est rate of 4.2 per cent

Cr Bruce Haynes said he ap­proached the then town clerk of Clare­mont in 1981 to en­cour­age the place­ment of un­der­ground power in that area while other works were on­go­ing.

“The clerk said no, on the grounds it would cost $70,000,” he said.

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