Letter to Western Power
from Napier Action Group

Napier Action Group
C/- Lorinda Hills
457 Bennett Road

31st August 2007


Mr Doug Aberle
CEO Western Power
GPO Box L921

Dear Sir

We are writing to you to express concern in regard to the proposed 220kv transmission line from Albany to Wellstead.

We we particularly concerned about the total lack of consultation with our community. Given the fact that approximately 30 kilometres of this proposed 90 kilometre line runs through the heart of our community, we feel we should have been included from the start of the consultation process.

By way of background, Napier is a farming district settled from 1900 onwards, nestled between the Porongurups wine district and City of Albany. Napier was originally a farming area, but as Albany has grown the area has changed to include a number of lifestyle properties and with this has come an increased population with a diverse range of activities such as bed & breakfasts, wildflower farming, plantations, landcare activities etc and it would appear that Napier has much potential for future subdivision.

Residents of the Napier community did not receive any direct contact in regard to the proposed transmission line until a letter from Western Power dated the 28th June 2007. The consultation process was well advanced at this point and the proposed corridors were already selected. This letter invited us to attend workshops in either Albany, Many Peaks or Green Range. There was no meeting scheduled for our area even though there is more impact on Napier than either Albany or Manypeaks. It wasn't until a Napier resident requested it that a meeting was then scheduled for our district. The meeting we did have was not a consultation meeting but one to place values on selection criteria relating to the proposed corridors. To say there was great confusion at this meeting is an understatement.

The corridors selected are meant to avoid such constraints as houses. On the corridors proposed for our area in three places they are superimposed directly over top of obvious very high density housing areas. This raises the concern that the maps and data used in the selection process were out of date, flawed or insufficient. Keeping in mind that state of the art information/maps are available from the internet this seems a major oversight. If wider consultation had been made with our community, these sensitive areas could have been pointed out. As such we are now presented with corridors that contain many flaws running through this area.

We are also concerned that a line of this magnitude was ever proposed for this area, given the fact that it could have run through other areas of broad acre farming and lower population density. In the option north of the Stirlings the majority of houses must have been between 2-7km from the line but in our region the majority of houses will be 300m to I km from the line. Also the impact on property values on smaller size properties will be much greater than on broad acre farms. It seems preposterous that our district was even considered, given the fact that the approval process for the northern option is almost completed. This northern option would have much less impact on far fewer peoples lives and properties.

On the Western Power Sustainability Assessment Process information sheet the statement is made that "A sustainability assessment process therefore produces an outcome obtained through a transparent and consultative process... .". This has not happened. The whole process appears to have been deeply flawed from the beginning as the flow chart on the back of this information sheet has as a first step, review of constraints, which involves the collation of available data - why didn't this data contain simple things like house locations, lifestyle blocks, farm stays, wetlands, chalets and personal land care areas such as "Land for Wildlife'"?

A corridor option that could have also been explored would appear to be along the southern side of the Stirling Range National Park. There is a straight line for many kilometres along the southern edge of the park with a 50m slashed break in low scrub country. This is also broad acre farming country and the houses on these properties are accessed from North Woogenellup Road (to the south), meaning residences are located some distance from this option.

Given the obvious flaws in the process and total initial lack of consultation with this community we urgently request that the entire selection and consultation process be revisited with our inclusion.

Should you have any queries please feel free to contact either myself on [phone number removed] or Michael Tugwell on [phone number removed]

Yours faithfully

On behalf of the Napier Action Group