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