The aerial power line stringing that took place on Camp Cable Road was more than just a spectacle for passing motorists.
For the residents that had opposed the establishment of the $64 million power line it was a painful reminder of the power juggernaut they had fought tooth and nail for over seven years, and lost.
Cr Laurie Koranski was one of the key players in the David and Goliath battle and founding members of VETO, the community protest group that was born in response to Energex’s plan to build an overhead power line that zigzagged the Logan River seven times from Loganlea to Jimboomba, and cut a swathe through local koala habitat.
She said while their fight to have the state-owned energy company look at other lower impact and cost effective alternatives was not successful, the movement succeeded in not only uniting the local community, but it raised awareness of the practice of “gold-plating.”
“In December 2008, homeowners learnt of plans to build a 23km duplicate high-voltage line connecting substations at Jimboomba and Loganlea to cater for the area’s growth,” she said.
“The initial plan contained seven crossings of the Logan River, and directly impacted on a number of home owners, whose residential properties were earmarked as locations for the line’s transmission poles.”
The community mobilised and VETO was born, winning the support of Logan City Council. It mounted a case of alternatives, such as a new substation at Yarrabilba, or placing the line underground.
In 2010 council engaged consultants Cardno. They found that Energex had ignored the cheaper and more community desired solutions.
VETO president Paul Casbolt said despite community objections and other lower impact, and cost effective alternatives put forth, it soon became apparent that it was not about cost efficiency, but an energy system that incentivised overspending in infrastructure to drive up revenues, known as “gold-plating”.
“While the double overhead along Camp Cable Road has cleared 42 hectares of large koala habitat trees and looks stunningly ugly, at least a large portion of this power line is no longer through residential properties,” he said.
“We want Energex to reassess the need for their follow-on project to build a second high-voltage from Jimboomba to Beaudesert as there are newer, lower impact technologies which can improve reliability with duplicating high impact lines through our community.”
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