Troubled powerlines could go

JOEL MAXWELL
Last updated 17:34 26/02/2013
lines

New lines: A map of pylons from the Bunnythorpe–Haywards A and B lines, in orange, northwest of the Valley Rd substation, proposed by Transpower to reroute Paraparaumu’s power supply. Inset in green is part of the 24km existing line, which would be removed under the proposal.

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LATEST: Pylons at the centre of a decade-long community battle could vanish in a plan to reroute Paraparaumu's power.

The disputed Valley Rd line and the rest of a 24km, 110kV section from Pauatahanui through Transmission Gully would be removed.

Transpower has announced a feasibility study that would instead see an expanded Valley Rd substation connected to the nearby 220kV Bunnythorpe-Haywards A and B lines.

Transpower communications manager Rebecca Wilson said work is needed to realign the 110kV lines for the planned Transmission Gully expressway.

She said if Transpower has to shift towers it looks for benefits for the community. "It is something that we're keen to look at if the community supports it."

The announcement comes in the midst of a legal battle between Kapiti residents and Transpower.

In November, High Court Justice Joseph Williams quashed Transpower's consents for reconductoring work on Valley Rd - part of a stoush with a residents' coalition running for a decade.

Residents disputed Kapiti Coast District Council consents for the work and sought declarations that Transpower trespassed.

Coalition member Mike Alexander said the proposal looked "all good", and could be completed at low cost and quickly by Transpower. "I can't see any effect on anyone, I've been up there - I can't see any houses nearby."

He said the proposal might resolve a lot of Transpower's legal problems. "They wouldn't need to go for resource consent [again for the Valley Rd lines], would they."

He said the coalition offered the rerouting option - with landowner consent - about five or six years ago, but it was not taken up.

In the proposal Transpower would run two about-800 metre sections of line from the north-west through privately-owned, undeveloped land. The higher voltage lines, from the Bunnythorpe-Haywards lines, would require a larger substation on Valley Rd.

Ms Wilson said the 220kV lines and substation would boost Transpower's capacity to supply a growing Kapiti Coast.

News of an alternative route comes nearly a week after Transpower won a stay of the three-month deadline to resubmit its consent applications.

Transpower plans to appeal aspects of Justice Williams' decision, as do the coalition of residents.

Ms Wilson said the feasibility study and the appeal are "two separate processes".

"The appeal will continue as we undertake the feasibility study."

Meanwhile Transpower will contact affected landowners, and plans to hold the information day on March 9 at the Valley Rd substation from 10.30am till 4.30pm. If the alternative is found to be feasible, and has community acceptance, work could push ahead quickly.

Transpower would need to have approvals for the work, including Kapiti Coast District Council consent, by the second half of this year for the project to proceed. It faces a 2014 deadline to realign its Gully infrastructure to make way for the expressway.

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- Kapiti Observer

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