Power py­lons bring out pro­tes­tors

Central Leader - - NEWS -

A pe­ti­tion to rid the cen­tral Auck­land land­scape of gi­ant power py­lons has started with a jolt.

The Bury the Py­lons cam­paign be­ing launched by Roskill Com­mu­nity Voice at­tracted more than 120 peo­ple to the St David’s in the Fields Church hall last week­end, cam­paign or­gan­iser Garth Houltham says.

‘‘Peo­ple spoke up about the fun­da­men­tal un­fair­ness of our com­mu­nity car­ry­ing the bur­den of mas­sive high volt­age power py­lons through our neigh­bour­hoods and across the Manukau Har­bour,’’ he says.

‘‘We know that this sim­ply wouldn’t be ac­cepted in sub­urbs along the Waitem­ata Har­bour.’’

There are about 62 py­lons in the Puke­ta­papa area, many of which are on res­i­den­tial prop­erty.

Hav­ing the py­lons buried is a big goal, ac­cord­ing to a dis­cus­sion doc­u­ment by Trans­power which­says while it will do so with any new ur­ban lines, the cost of low­er­ing ex­ist­ing ones is pro­hib­i­tively ex­pen­sive.

Trans­power says the cost of un­der­ground­ing runs from $5 mil­lion to $15m per kilo­me­tre. To put all of Trans- power’s 400km of ur­ban lines un­der­ground would cost $4 bil­lion. In the dis­cus­sion pa­per Trans­power says it would rather un­der­ground its ca­bles but the economics are not vi­able.

‘‘We sup­port un­der­ground­ing. Economics aside we would pre­fer not to be the ugly duck­ling in the com­mu­nity.

‘‘We will al­ways at­tempt to help those who seek ways to lessen the im­pact of over­head trans­mis­sion lines.

‘‘How­ever, we are rarely a ma­te­rial ben­e­fi­ciary of un­der­ground­ing the lines.’’

The doc­u­ment says there have been in­stances of un­der­ground­ing of the ex­ist­ing lines in Auck­land but this was mostly funded by pri­vate groups de­vel­op­ing land, for ex­am­ple at the High­brook busi­ness park.

But Roskill Com­mu­nity Voice mem­ber David Holm be­lieves it could be done.

‘‘Over the next three years Trans­power will give cen­tral govern­ment over $500 mil­lion in div­i­dends, so we know that it can be done,’’ he says.

Roskill Com­mu­nity Voice has worked with MP for Mt Roskill Phil Goff to of­fi­cially launch the pe­ti­tion.

Mr Goff has been call­ing for the un­der­ground­ing of the ca­bles since ear­lier this year.

The for­mal par­lia­men­tary pe­ti­tion that asks all rel­e­vant stake­hold­ers to come to­gether and de­velop a re­spon­si­ble plan to bring down the py­lons.

Mr Houltham says the cam­paign is fun­da­men­tally about fair­ness.

‘‘Our com­mu­nity should have the same right to en­joy our properties and en­vi­ron­ment as any other,’’ he says.

‘‘We be­lieve that Roskill has been over­looked in many ways over the years, and we are say­ing that it is time for our com­mu­nity to get a fair go.’’

Photo: IAIN MCGRE­GOR

Un­wanted: Power py­lons have long been a con­tentious is­sue for the peo­ple whose properties they af­fect.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.