Alstonville residents lose battle to relocate power pole
ALSTONVILLE residents are devastated that their efforts to have a controversial new power pole moved to a new location have failed.
The pole was to be erected in a council reserve near Pinehurst Court.
Nearby residents have lobbied to have the 12m high concrete pole moved to adjoining land owned by the Department of Primary Industries because it would be only metres from their backyards.
Ballina MP Don Page said he made representations to Energy and Resources Minister Chris Hartcher on behalf of the residents.
"Originally the DPI said they didn't want a new pole where the old one was and then they subsequently changed that position and said they didn't mind," he said.
"Then I approached the Minister to see whether the government could influence Essential Energy to locate the pole back at the original site on DPI land."
Mr Page said Essential Energy agreed they would see if the pole could be installed in its original location.
"Essential Energy agreed to pay the costs of relocating the pole," he said.
"But that has been rejected by the developer who is arguing that they have had to wait too long already to get electricity onto the development.
"The developers argued that they have an approval to put the pole where they intended in a public reserve behind Pinehurst Crt and they are going to proceed."
The developer was contacted, but chose not to make a statement.
Nearby resident Sue Darnell said it was a stressful time for the residents, who have been told the power pole could be erected as early as next week.
"It's just been a nightmare," she said.
"We are at a loss - we've really tried to get this changed but we don't know what to do anymore.
It is understood the project began four years ago, and there has been an ongoing dispute over who decided the location of the new pole - the developer or Essential Energy.
The approvals for the new pole were paid for by the developer in a private works arrangement with Essential Energy.
It is believed if the original pole was to be redesigned in its current location on DPI land, it could delay the project by an estimated 12 months and deals with other stakeholders may then be affected, putting the whole project at risk.