Bold idea to bury the power lines

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS - Ja­cob Wil­son ja­cob.wil­son@whit­sun­day­times.com.au

FOR­MER Whit­sun­day Shire Mayor Glenn Pat­ullo has an out of the box idea – one which if im­ple­mented could keep the lights switched on in the di­rect af­ter­math of an­other cy­clone.

With the next cy­clone sea­son only months away, Mr Pat­ullo has called for the Fed­eral and Queens­land gov­ern­ments to work to­gether to in­stall un­der­ground power in the Whit­sun­days.

“What I think we should have been ar­gu­ing for was to put all elec­tric­ity un­der­ground, we suf­fered badly (from the cy­clone) and got noth­ing,” he said.

“We have a North Aus­tralia Devel­op­ment Min­is­ter putting in­fra­struc­ture in the North­ern Ter­ri­tory, but they left the cy­clone prone ar­eas want­ing to do some­thing.”

Cy­clone Deb­bie’s im­pact left many homes across Air­lie Beach, Can­non­vale, Ju­bilee Pocket and sur­round­ing ar­eas with­out power for sev­eral weeks.

Mr Pat­ullo said such a sit­u­a­tion was un­ac­cept­able.

“It ag­grieves me to see peo­ple down for two or three weeks af­ter a cy­clone with­out power,” he said.

“I would like to see the over­head power lines put un­der­ground in the im­me­di­ate town ar­eas like Main Street and Whit­sun­day Plaza be­cause there is no rea­son why they shouldn’t have power if a cy­clone does come again.”

Mr Pat­ullo said wildlife would also ben­e­fit from shift­ing over­head power lines un­der­ground, re­sult­ing in less tree lop­ping.

“Wildlife had it bad too and they were re­liant upon bot­tle brush trees for food,” he said.

“There are a hand­ful of peo­ple are go­ing out of their way to feed the par­rots and other birds while the elec­tric­ity com­pa­nies are go­ing out of their way to lop trees.”

Mr Pat­ullo es­ti­mated it could cost be­tween $500 mil­lion and $1 bil­lion to im­ple­ment un­der­ground power across Bowen, Air­lie Beach and Proser­pine.

The of­fice of the Min­is­ter of North­ern Aus­tralia, cur­rently held by Barn­aby Joyce, was con­tacted for com­ment.

PHOTO: JA­COB WIL­SON

PUT IT UN­DER GROUND: For­mer Mayor Glenn Pat­ullo wants to see un­der­ground power in the Whit­sun­days.

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