Power giant walks away

EERWAH Vale’s Jack Connolly and his Powerlines Action Group Eumundi (PAGE) team reckon they know how David felt after bringing Goliath crashing back down to earth.

From where the residents of this Noosa hinterland Land For Wildlife stronghold have been bunkered down for the past four years almost to the day, they have taken on a $100 million Powerlink juggernaut and sent the energy company engineers and their 275,000 volt powerlines packing.

Last month the PAGE activists – local residents in Eerwah Vale and Ridgewood, not prepared to sit back and lose their wildlife to massive powerline pylons – welcomed the five-year deferment of the Woolooga to Eerwah Vale transmission line and Eerwah Vale substation project.

But they were adamant the State Government-inspired rethink did not go far enough. They demanded a meeting with Powerlink executives and a pledge to kill the project stone dead.

Now the battle-weary valley and ridge dwellers are preparing to celebrate what has proved mission impossible for other communities faced with similar powerline intrusions in their lives.

Mr Connolly said the residents of Eerwah Vale and Ridgewood received this week a ‘clarifying’ letter from Powerlink which “finally and totally terminates this threat”.

“We are taking Powerlink on trust and hope that their current letter is not a political stunt,” Mr Connolly said.

“This is the first time in 18 years that anyone has ever been able to get Powerlink to walk away in this manner and we certainly are going to be celebrating.

“Now the residents can get on with their lives without having to worry about the massive impact on their lives and the huge loss to their property’s valuation,” Mr Connolly said.

Mr Connolly said in the recent meeting with Powerlink, the state company was “strongly urged” to distinguish the difference between the ‘deferred need’ for a network upgrade, and the ‘termination’ of their current project.

Mr Connolly described this as a common sense win for the community and “a great environmental win for the Sunshine Coast”.

But he said PAGE was not about to let Powerlink just walk away from what they had put the local community through over the years and would seek not only answers for their past actions, but funding to help with koala habitat rehabilitation.

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