Alstonville residents dispute position of power pole
ANY day now a 12m-high concrete electricity pole could be installed just metres from Colette Dalton's backyard at Alstonville, and she's not happy about it.
Neither are her neighbours.
They have been fighting for months to have the pole moved to a different location.
A new pole is needed so that developers, Galasynd, can put the power underground at the subdivision.
But there has been an ongoing dispute over where it should be located.
A nearby council reserve has been approved by Essential Energy.
But residents have complained, saying they were not consulted and that it was too close to their homes.
"Our continuous and desperate pleas are being ignored," said local resident Sue Darnell.
"We simply want to meet with all parties, on the site, to discuss our concerns and the obvious commonsense solution of retaining the current power pole.
"There has been a complete lack of community consultation and a failure to pursue an alternate option."
It is understood the reserve site was only earmarked because, originally, the Department of Primary Industries wouldn't give approval for the developer to build the required struts around the base of an existing pole.
Now there is a dispute over who - the developer or Essential Energy - decided on the new location for the pole.
And that is an issue because the DPI has now agreed to allow the extra infrastructure at the pole's existing site, as long as someone else pays for a new Review of Environmental Factors.
It has led to a stand-off between the developer and Essential Energy, with both refusing to come up with the money.
Essential Energy, in a written statement this week, said it was "willing to review alternative options, which could include the placement of the pole in the DPI land".
"However, re-submission of a design and REF for the alternative power pole location would be a decision for the developer," a spokesperson said.
The developer was contacted for comment but chose not to make a statement.
Meanwhile, Ballina MP Don Page has become involved in the matter, following lobbying from the residents.
He said he was hoping for a "commonsense solution".
"To me, the solution is pretty obvious and that's to put the pole on DPI land," he said.