Letters 12.12.20

All things slow?

I WOULD like to respond to reasons mayor Emma Cole’s gave for the City of Vincent not pursuing any investigation for funding models for underground power (“Buried Again”, Voice, 21 November).

A motion was passed at this year’s Annual Meeting of Electors asking the city to investigate models for financing underground power, with a specific reference to what the City of Subiaco did. The council said they would consider it, but nothing ever happened.

As I previously highlighted, mayor Cole made a commitment, when she stood for mayor in 2017, to “engage with the community on underground power by taking detailed options to the community for full consultation and community endorsement”.  Her response is just to note that there are three years left in her current term.

The point is that she has done nothing since she made the commitment nearly four years ago. And the statement is pretty meaningless if, for example, she was to pull the pin next year.

She need not feel like an orphan on the issue. When he stood for mayor in 2013, John Carey made a similar commitment, but failed to deliver “a realistic funding model and plan for underground power”. Does anybody see a pattern here?

The other reason that mayor Cole gave for inaction was “Covid, the need to repair Beatty Park and a rates freeze became priorities”.

This indicates a misunderstanding of what was asked for. The request wasn’t for spending huge amounts on putting the power underground, it was simply about getting a financial model that would deliver underground over a long term period, hopefully based on the Subiaco model which has seen all power put underground over a 30-40 year period by taking out long term loans and increasing rates by a small amount.

Basically, spreading the cost over a 30 to 40 year period, or longer.

The request was simply about getting some consultants in to develop financial models that would provide insight into the potential cost – something that could be taken to the community.

The previous estimate was that this could have been done for under $30,000, an amount that Vincent can easily find.

Putting the power underground will make our suburbs much more attractive; will improve our environment; and will increase house values.  It really is a no-brainer if it can be done affordably – it just needs a bit of brain power and will. Subiaco did it in the 1980s – why can’t we?

Dudley Maier,
Highgate

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