In The Press

Hills Gazette (16/08/08) Win for Power Protest

A group fighting the construction of an electrical switchyard in the Hills is celebrating after Western Power announced it would take the project back to the drawing board....

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Echo (16/08/08) Terminal discussed at meeting

Western Power's General Manager in Customer Services Mark de Laeter addressed the Shire of Kalamunda's Planning and Services Committee regarding the proposed Eastern Terminal switchyard. Over 80 people filled the chamber to demonstrate their disapproval of Western Power's lack of community consultation...

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Hills Gazette (July 2008) Walk Trail damaged

Western Power has admitted two of its contractors damaged areas of a walking trail in Kalamunda during recent maintenance.

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Hills Gazette (28/06/08) Substation in activists firing line

A newly formed group of Hills climate activists will fight the proposed construction of the eastern terminal electricity substation.

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Hills Gazette (28/06/08) Tsunami of salt is a real killer

...Lo and behold on the same page is a big advertisement - an invitation from Western Power. The subject is basically land clearing for its new power line.

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Hills Gazette (24/05/08) - Sparks fly over switch

Western Power have conceded they should have provided Hills residents with clearer information about the development of an Eastern Terminal Substation.

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Hills Gazette (19/04/08) - Fears over power plan

A group opposing Western Power's plans to build an eastern terminal substation in the Hills fear the community will not receive a fair hearing during the next round of consultation.

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Hills Gazette Letter to the Editor (19/04/08) - Why the change?

"I note with interest that Ian Buchanan from Western Power (Geologist's ideas rejected, Gazette, April 5) confirmed the southeastern terminal and the recommissioning of the transmission line are required in addition to the eastern terminal..."

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The West Australian (17/04/08) - Plan to build more coal power stations

Coal magnate Rick Stowe is planning to capitalise on the high price of domestic gas by spending up to $1.2 billion building 3 new power stations in a move that will put further pressure on the WA Government's greenhouse targets.

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Hills Gazette (05/04/08) - Geologist's idea rejected

Western Power has rejected a suggestion from a Hills Geologist that its planned eastern terminal substation is unnecessary.

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Hills Gazette (29/03/08) - Hacketts Gully plea

Kalamunda Shire Council wants the State Government to extend Kalamunda National Park to incorporate an area of the state forest at Hacketts Gully.

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Hills Gazette Letter to the Editor (29/03/08) - Residents must be consulted

"I am very concerned at Western Power's announcement of the building of a gantry on Mundaring Weir Road and upgrade of the existing 132,0000 volt line between Boddington and this new gantry."

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Hills Gazette (22/03/08) - Council speaks out on station

Kalamunda Shire Council has expressed its intense opposition to the area Western Power is studying as a site for a planned eastern terminal substation.

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Hills Gazette (15/03/08) - Calls to Delay Plan

A group opposed to Western Power's proposed eastern terminal substation in the Hills has urged energy minister Francis Logan to halt construction of a temporary gantry structure planned for Hacketts Gully.

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Hills Gazette (01/03/08) - Group to fight for land

Tourism operators in the Hills have joined forces to fight Western Power's plans to build an eastern terminal substation in the Hills.

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Hills Gazette Letter to the Editor (01/03/08) - Western Power plot thickens - Mr John Davenport, Bickley

"I note that Mr de Laeter claims the main reason for a "hills connection" to the metropolitan grid is because of new power stations being built at Collie".

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Hills Gazette Letter to the Editor (23/02/08) - Home not yet chosen for ET - Mr Mark de Laete, General Manager, Customer Services, Western Power

"In response to the letter from John Davenport from Bickley, published in the February 16 issue, I assure residents that Western Power has not chosen a location for the proposed Eastern Terminal (ET) substation."

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Hills Gazette Letter to the Editor (16/02/08) - Stealth at work over project - Mr John Davenport, Bickley

"Western Power's announcement of the reconstruction of the Collie to Hacketts Gully transmission line strongly suggests that it has chosen a site for the eastern terminal in the Hacketts Gully area."

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# Hills Gazette (09/02/08) - People power ignored

An action group fighting the construction of an electricity substation in the Hills believes Western Power has no interest in consulting the community over a site.

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Hills Gazette (15/12/07) - Substation put on backburner

Opponents to a proposed electrical terminal substation in the Hills have won a 12 month reprieve, with Western Power this week announcing it needs more time to consult the community.

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Echo Newspaper (14/11/07) - Shire seeks consultation

Kalamunda Shire Council will request a consultation with Western Power on the proposal for the new Eastern Sub Terminal.

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Hills Gazette (10/11/07) - Substation fight on

Opposition is mounting against Western Power's proposed Eastern Terminal Substation in the Hills.

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Echo Newspaper (10/11/07) - Terminal Call

Darling Range MLA John Day has called for the State Government to listen to concerns of local residents about a new terminal substation to be constructed in the Kalamunda District.

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Kalgoorlie Miner (Oct 07) - Threat to goldfields water

Goldfields drinking water could be at risk of contamination if a proposed Western Power substation is established in Kalamunda, according to Kalamunda Shire Councillor Frank Lindsay.

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Echo Newspaper (Oct 07) - Substation site up for discussion

Residents will take an active role in the selection of a site for a new $180 million terminal substation in the Kalamunda-Mundaring area, according to Western Power.

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Hills Gazette (29/05/99) - Substation opposed

Kalamunda Shire Council will "vehemently" oppose a bid by Western Power to build a substation near Mundaring Weir Road in Hacketts Gully.

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Kalamunda Shire Council's submission to Western Power on the Site Selection Process

by Claire 8/19/2008 8:06:00 PM

On Monday 18th August the Kalamunda Shire Council considered a submission from the Shire to Western Power in relation to the site selection process.

Although the last date for submissions passed on 31 July the Council had arranged an extension.   

The submission was passed unanimously.  The submission is reproduced below, and makes very strong statements about the proposed Eastern Terminal, the proposed gantry, the site selection process, "no-go" areas,  and the need for open public consultation.

SHIRE OF KALAMUNDA

SUBMISSION TO WESTERN POWER REGARDING THE SITE SELECTION PROCESS FOR THE PROPOSED EASTERN TERMINAL

1.  CONSISTENT OPPOSITION

The Shire of Kalamunda has been involved in consultation with Western Power and its predecessors concerning the proposed Eastern Terminal substation since 1992.  The Shire has consistently opposed the proposal that an Eastern Terminal substation be located in state forest or water catchment areas to the east of Kalamunda.

During this period Council established a policy of ‘vehement opposition’ to the proposal.  Council understood that the issues had been resolved in May 2002 when Western Power wrote to the community of Hacketts Gully stating:

“Following a review of the long term electrical load requirements for the east metropolitan area, we wish to advise that a terminal substation will no longer required at Location 3897 Mundaring Weir Road, Hacketts Gully. We also have no intention to acquire an alternative site in areas close to Hacketts Gully as previously advised. The site at Location 3897 Mundaring Weir Road will be either disposed of or held as an environmental/conservation asset to be traded at some time in the future. Western Power has not intention to sell the land to a private developer[1].”

1.1     Council is greatly concerned that Western Power is now attempting to renege on its 2002 promises to the residents of Hacketts Gully.

Council remains opposed to Western Power’s Eastern Terminal proposal.  On 17 March 2008 Council unanimously adopted a motion that the Kalamunda Shire Council:

  1. expresses its vehement opposition to siting of the substation within the study area designated by Western Power as it consists mainly of Priority 1 & Priority 2 water catchment areas, National Park and State Forest, and consequently is unacceptable on environmental, economic and social grounds,
  2. expresses its vehement opposition to the announcement by Western Power of the 7 February 2008 that it is intending to construct a gantry structure near the intersection of Mundaring Weir Road and Bahen Road, Hacketts Gully, without any prior consultation with either the Council or affected residents in Hacketts Gully.

1.2    Council remains vehemently opposed to an Eastern Terminal and the proposed gantry structure in Hacketts Gully on environmental, social and economic grounds.

2.  WATER CATCHMENT

The Shire of Kalamunda has adhered to the terms of the ‘Water Management Strategy’ in Public Drinking Water Source Areas when considering development applications in Priority 1, 2 & 3 areas.  The Eastern Terminal study area encompasses all three Priority areas and falls within the Mundaring, Middle Helena and Victoria catchments.  As a consequence, use of land in these areas has been restricted in terms of the number and types of animals, the secondary processing of farm, orchard and vineyard produce and the imposition of housing envelopes on subdivided land so that water quality is preserved.

Council notes that under the ‘Water Management Strategy’ the category of ‘energy industry’ is incompatible.  Council also notes that recent announcements by the Water Corporation confirm Mundaring Weir as one of three key catchment areas in the Perth metropolitan area[2].

2.1     Council believes the construction of an Eastern Terminal in this area of State Forest and Priority 1 & 2 water catchments will set an unacceptable precedent and seriously undermine Council’s attempts to implement its strategy to secure water quality in the catchments.

3.  ENVIRONMENT, TOURISM AND RECREATION

The Shire’s strategic plan places particular value on the environment, ecotourism as an important economic driver, and the importance of the natural environment for recreation.

The proposed Eastern Terminal – whether as a switchyard or substation – would have a strong negative impact on these values.

The ‘gantry’ structure would have a major visible impact on the important tourist route which connects Kalamunda to the Mundaring Weir, Lake C.Y.O’Connor, the O’Connor Museum, the Hills Forest Centre and the Bibbulmun and Munda Biddi Trails and, in turn, on the recreational amenity of these areas.

In May 2008 Tourism W.A. stated:[3]

  1. Perth Hills area has been identified as an emerging tourism destination within the Experience Perth Destination Development Strategy 2007-2017.
  2. Tourism development in the Perth Hills destination is seen as strategically important as the Perth Hills product has direct synergy with three of the five iconic tourism experiences used to position Western Australia in the marketplace. (These include Forest & Flowers, Wine & Food, people & Lifestyle).
  3. The Bibbulmun Track and the Munda Biddi Trail hold iconic significance at a State level and form an important component of marketing Western Australia at a strategic level. 

3.1     Council believes the Eastern Terminal & ‘gantry’ proposals would undermine the tourism strategies of the Shire of Kalamunda and Tourism W.A. 

4.  SITE SELECTION PROCESS PAPER: THE PROJECT – A SWITCHYARD OR A SUBSTATION?

Pages 2-5 of the May 2008 Site Selection Process Paper outline Western Power’s plans for the construction of an Eastern Terminal switchyard.  Council is greatly concerned that in all previous information, including the briefing of Planning Services Committee on 10 December 2007, Western Power has consistently referred to an Eastern Terminal substation.  Despite Mr de Laeter’s presentation to Planning Services Committee on 11 August 2008, the reasons for the change are not clear, either to Council or to the community.  There continues to be very substantial community confusion concerning Western Power’s intentions, particularly given Western Power’s stated intention to acquire an area of 20 hectares, the area required for a substation.

Council is aware that Western Power proposes upgrading to 132 kV the 66 kV line which traverses Hacketts Gully and Paulls Valley.  It is assumed that should this occur, transformers would be required to convert 330 kV power to 132 kV, requiring the first stage of a substation.

4.1     The confusion that Western Power has created in the minds of the community as a result of its inconsistent descriptions of this project has significantly compromised the integrity of the consultation process, and raises serious questions about the adequacy of Western Power’s planning.

4.2     Council believes that, in assessing the potential long-term impact of the proposal, because of the uncertainty concerning the eventual development of an Eastern Terminal, Council must assume that it may ultimately comprise an Eastern Terminal substation; until such time that an unequivocal assurance is provided by Western Power that this is not the case.

5.  SITE SELECTION PROCESS PAPER: PROPOSED DECISION AND SITE SELECTION PROCESS

The description in the Site Selection Process Paper of the proposed site selection process is confusing, and is expressed in language that would not readily be understood by many people.  Those unfamiliar with the background to the Eastern Terminal proposal would have found it difficult to make informed comments about the process.  Council notes that of the 600 submissions received, only 37 were concerned with the process.  It is suggested that this is reflective of (a) the strength of community opposition to an Eastern Terminal, (b) the likelihood that many respondents were not prepared to comment on a site selection process as they were opposed to an Eastern Terminal anywhere in the study area, and (c) difficulty in understanding and commenting on the proposed process.

The Site Selection Process Paper identifies the following as “no-go” areas in which an Eastern Terminal would not be constructed: Reservoir Protection Zones; a buffer around the Perth Observatory; National Parks; and a 500 metre buffer around residential areas.  Council notes that following the exclusion of these areas the remaining area of interest would consist wholly of Priority 1 and 2 water catchment. 

5.1     Council believes that the following MUST ALSO be designated as “no-go” areas:

a)   the locality of Hacketts Gully in its entirety;

b)   all Priority 1 and 2 water catchment areas;

c)   a buffer of at least 500 metres on each side of the Bibbulmun Track, the Munda Biddi Track, the Lower Helena Bridle Trail, Kalamunda Circuit and The Dell picnic area, consistent with Western Power’s proposed setbacks for private property;

d)   all Environmentally Sensitive Areas as defined by the Department of Environment and Conservation; and

e)   a buffer of at least 1000 m (rather than 500 m) around all residential areas.

5.2     Council believes the threat of Phythophthera die back disease means that any development involving the clearing of forest in the study poses an unacceptable risk. 

Council is greatly concerned that while the Site Selection Process Paper proposes the application of sustainability principles to the selection of a specific site, the decision by Western Power to locate an Eastern Terminal within the study area was based only on economic and technical criteria. 

5.3     Council believes it is essential that, to ensure consistent decision making and to convince the community that Western Power is genuine in its use of sustainability principles, the decision to locate an Eastern Terminal east of Kalamunda must be reconsidered, using the sustainability principles proposed for the site selection process.

6.  PUBLIC CONSULTATION

Council is greatly concerned that, given the level of confusion in the community about Western Power’s intentions, the Site Selection Process Paper makes no provision for open community consultation through public meetings.  The Paper refers only to “information sessions during the Site Options Discussion Paper comment period to explain the sites identified.”  Community members who were not invited to the 2007 workshops but who have been included in the 2008 process will be seriously disadvantaged.  Community members and organisations will find it difficult to participate in the proposed site selection process if they have a confused or incorrect understanding of Western Power’s plans.  

6.1     Council believes it is essential that open information sessions are conducted as soon as possible to properly inform the community of the latest proposals for an Eastern Terminal.  Without such opportunities, Western Power’s community consultation process will be fundamentally flawed.


[1] Letter from Mr R Teh of WPC, 9th May, 2002

[2]  ‘The West Australian’ 22 July 2008

[3]  Letter to Perth Hills Vignerons Association 27 May 2008

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