Oakura residents say the power has been taken out of their hands as they bid to clear poles from their marine parade.
Powerco says the power poles on Messenger Terrace are rapidly approaching the end of their useful life and will be replaced next year.
Residents want the lines to go underground but they have only known of the plans for about five months and say there has not been time time to fully investigate the option.
It is estimated the cost to run the lines underground would work out to $9000 for each property.
When he was contacted by the Taranaki Daily News Kaitake Community Board chairman Doug Hislop asked why residents had not been given more notice of the upgrade.
"I find it quite incomprehensible that Powerco could only alert the residents out here that the lines had to be replaced five months ago," Mr Hislop said.
He said residents were all in favour of putting the lines underground but they had not been given enough time to work through the issues, including how it would be paid for.
Peter Tennent, former New Plymouth mayor and Messenger Tce bach owner, was disappointed Powerco had elected to go above ground unless it could find an external source to fund the work."The time frame makes it very difficult," he said.
"The issue is if you are going to do it for that beach, why don't you do it for all of the beaches and the feeder roads to the beaches? So it's a tough one to find a solution."
Corporate Affairs Manager Neil Holdom said Powerco had told property owners if they funded the additional costs it would look at the option as a way of improving the outlook of the popular seaside village.
"Powerco's engineers were mindful that whatever assets we used to replace what is currently along Messenger Terrace would be in place for the next 60-80 years and thought it would be useful to seek community feedback," Mr Holdom said.
The community indicated it needed far more time to make a decision and raise the approximately $9000 per property required, he said.
"Powerco realises that not everybody likely to be impacted by the project would be prepared to contribute the considerable sum involved but we wanted to be able to offer the option up and see what the community had to say about it."
Mr Holdom said he accepted feedback from the community that they would have preferred several years' notice. "However, we are in a position where we will be replacing the assets next year and it really is over to the residents to determine if they want to fund the undergrounding themselves or can find an alternative way of financing the upgrade."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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