Underground resistance

A GROUP of Mt Lawley residents have refused to pay a rates charge for underground power after discovering nine enormous transmission poles will not be sunk along Learoyd Street.

Residents across Menora and Mt Lawley are paying on average $8000 for underground power, but some of the Learoyd Street residents have rejected a 20 per cent discount offered by Stirling council to compensate for the big poles and now risk getting 9 per cent default interest charges on their unpaid rates.

Petition

When homeowner Peter Antonas found out about the concrete transmission poles he collected 99 signatures on a petition calling for Stirling to cancel the underground power project, but that was rejected by the council which points out 65 per cent of respondents to a survey supported the project.

“They’re pricks,” said Mr Antonas, who’s amongst those who’ve not paid the charge with his rates.

“It’s totally unfair paying this exorbitant amount.”

• Does this power look underground? Learoyd Street residents Carlo Genovese, Peter Antonas and Moya Arentz are refusing to pay because the concrete poles are staying. Photo by David Bell

The council says its discount, which takes Learoyd residents’ average bill to around $7000, is “more than reasonable … to reflect the additional and historic visual intrusion that will remain”.

Smaller timber power poles that service the homes along Learoyd Street will be taken out, and Stirling told the residents as a result they would benefit from boosted house prices, not having to prune their trees as much, and safer streets where cars wouldn’t crash as often.

“Whilst there is no doubt that transmission lines would also have a residual adverse effect, these transmission lines have been there for more than 45 years and every property owner should have factored them in when initially purchasing the property,” the council said in a letter to Mr Antonas and other petitioners.

He described the response as “obnoxious”.

The council says a brochure was sent to affected landowners as part of the consultation, though several the Voice spoke to said they didn’t recall receiving them, or might’ve tossed it among the junk mail; 55 per cent of residents sent the forms back.

The brochure does mention exempted transmission lines, but did not explain how they are different to distribution lines, nor carry an image. There was no mention of potentially affected areas such as Learoyd Street.

by DAVID BELL

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