Statement from CEO Ali Wastie - Bonwick Avenue
Residents of Bonwick Avenue in San Remo have been in contact with Council, regarding power poles that have been installed in front of their properties.
The poles have been placed on Bonwick Avenue to service a 29-lot subdivision that has been approved by Council via a planning permit, for Western Port Views Estate.
Once a planning permit has been issued, the servicing authorities (Westernport Water, NBN Co, Ausnet) approve the plans for their infrastructure and supervise the works on site. Council has no direct input into these requirements and cannot overrule other authorities on their requirements. Council has received consent from AusNet for the provision of electricity to the subdivision.
When this issue was first raised, Council contacted Ausnet to understand if there was any scope to change the power supply. Ausnet indicated that they were willing to work with the developer on an alternative proposal, however the developer would need to agree to amend their plans. This did not occur. The works have now been signed off by Ausnet. The Statement of Compliance has been issued for the new estate and the issue of titles is imminent.
As the power has been installed in line with the requirements of the planning permit and signed off by Ausnet, Council has no power to intervene in this matter.
We have been in contact with Ausnet to see if there was any way to resolve this issue, they advised the following:
- There is not enough power in the existing infrastructure to service the new estate
- It is their policy position across the state to provide overhead infrastructure in brownfield developments
The works conducted to date have been in accordance with the plans under the permit.
Further comments from Western Port Ward Councillior Rochelle Halstead:
Understanding planning processes can be a minefield with so many layers of regulations and conditions. The community looks to their local council as the responsible authority making all the decisions, but often this is not the case at all. Council must follow processes set by other levels of government and in this case, outside referral authorities. Moving powerlines underground is a popular outcome for residents and providing a fair policy around how this could be achieved in older estates might be something Ausnet and the Australian Energy Regulator might like to consider.