PCC powers underlined
Transpower’s bid to control private land under rural power lines has been scaled back by Porirua City Council. The state utilities giant has accepted this despite fighting two councils over similar matters.
Last April Transpower proposed altering Porirua’s District Plan to restrict building and landscaping in a 64-metre-wide ‘‘corridor’’ around its 110 kilovolt cables in Pauatahanui, Whitby, Judgeford, Paekakariki Hill Rd and Cannons Creek.
Public outcry led to the formation of a landowners’ working group, which has worked with the council to make the proposal more acceptable. Members of the group were Alan Gray, Dianne Strugnell, Anthony McLagan and John Bould.
The proposal is now for a 24-metre ‘‘yard’’ where building is restricted. No structure larger than a garden shed – 10 metres square and 2.5m high – can be built or altered in the area, and even then Transpower would be involved in the resource consent process.
Building and subdivision will also be restricted in a ‘‘corridor’’ extending another 20m either side of the yard, or 25m for 220kv power lines. Regular resource consent scrutiny will again be beefed up in corridors to ensure power lines are not affected and to protect Transpower’s access to the lines.
Residents appear to be satisfied with the modified proposal – the working group concluded they could ‘‘probably live with’’ the restrictions.
Their remaining concern is for compensation from Transpower for restricting landowners’ use of their property, and retrofitting buildings already under powerlines to conform with Transpower’s requirements.
Transpower has agreed to the scaled-back proposal, group member Mr Gray says. This is a turnaround for the company, which took two councils to the Environment Court after they rejected its full 64m corridor – Western Bay of Plenty District Council last August and South Canterbury’s Waimate District Council in November.
Transpower has also been handed back the responsibility for monitoring landscaping work in Porirua yards, which it asked the council to oversee, says Matt Trlin, the council’s environment and city planning manager.
‘‘We’re sticking with what we think is the simpler approach . . . It’s really a specialty area that rests with Transpower,’’ he said.
Residents and Transpower will have another chance to comment on the issue when it is publicly notified mid-year.
Open door policy: Titahi Bay volunteer firefighters Glenn Henderson, Sean Malone and Jono Meadowcroft are welcoming the community this Saturday to an emergency awareness day organised by Paula Birnie.