AusNet Services has announced what it calls “corridors” for further investigation and consultation for the Western Victoria Transmission Network Project.

The 190km high-voltage transmission line will stretch from Sydenham to Bulgana (near Ararat). The 500kV line will include pylons up to 80m high.

As part of developing the project, corridors have been narrowed from the broad area of interest after thousands of submissions and representations from the local community.

Ausnet said that in some locations there was only one corridor of interest and in other locations there were alternative corridor options.

“The priority for identifying the corridors was to minimise and mitigate the potential impact of new infrastructure on the environment and communities,” a spokesperson said.

“Over the coming months, there will be further community consultation and investigations in the corridors, with a final corridor anticipated to be announced by mid-2021.”

AusNet Services is seeking nominations for members of three Community Consultation Groups.

The aim of these groups is to improve communication between the communities and the project.

Members will be selected based on merit, skills, expertise and evidence of connection to the community.

AusNet Services Executive Project Director Stephanie McGregor said they were committed to continuous engagement with the local community.

“We’ve heard the concerns and valuable insights from the community and taken these into account alongside the technical studies as we narrow down the area of interest,” she said.

“We encourage continued community input as we further investigate these corridors so that we can deliver this critical infrastructure with the least amount of impact.

“Everyone in the community can help shape this project, which is why we are inviting nominations for the three Community Consultation Groups.

“These groups will foster collaboration and further support the flow of information to the community about the project.”

Details of upcoming face to face community drop-in sessions will be announced next week.

** Moorabool and Central Highlands Power Alliance President Emma Muir said she was gutted about the refined map, as their home was in a narrow corridor and would almost certainly be affected.

“This map makes it real,” she said.

“We’re disappointed that the alignment is exactly where we thought it would be, but we’d also like to see a more detailed map that gives everyone absolute certainty.

A June 2020 map of properties where owners had been approached by the transmission line developers.

“We want this project sent back to AEMO to be reassessed because in the 21st century, lines should be put underground.”

Ms Muir also welcomed a call to form community consultation groups.

People wanting to join must have some expertise in the area, lodge an application with referees and will be selected by the developers.

“We’re really concerned for people’s mental health at the moment.

“My husband just can’t get out of bed.”

** Ausnet said the Western Victoria Transmission Network was critical to unlocking vast reserves of renewable energy and new jobs, but community lobby groups argue the lines should go underground because they will destroy wildlife, cause health effects, carve up farmland with large easements and devalue property.

The earlier area of interest map released in June 2020

For further project information, or to nominate for membership of one of the three Community Consultation Groups, visit www.westvictnp.com.au, email info@westvictnp.com.au or call 03 9021 0674.

RELATED STORY: Moorabool report shows underground powerlines viable

RELATED STORY: Darley meting told powerlines will decrease home value by 30-50%

** Got a story? Get in touch via the Moorabool Online Facebook page or drop us a line: news@mooraboolonline.com.au

Gabrielle Hodson
Author: Gabrielle Hodson

Online, radio, TV and print journalist since 1993. BA (Hum) majoring in journalism Deakin University. Follow us on Twitter - https://twitter.com/MooraboolOnline I'd love to hear your news tips 🙂 Email -- news@mooraboolonloine.com.au OR send us a message via Facebook -- https://www.facebook.com/MooraboolOnline