Bannister landowners have finally secured what they've been requesting for almost a year.
On April 29 a group dubbed 'Resist HumeLink' will meet with Transgrid representatives about the company's plans for a 630km long 500 kilovolt electricity transmission line proposed to pass through the Bannister district.
The line will connect substations at Maragle, east of Tumbarumba, Wagga and Bannaby, near Taralga. The company says the infrastructure will allow new energy sources, such as renewables to come online, unlock the Snowy Hydro Scheme's full potential and increase the amount of energy that can be delivered across NSW and the ACT.
While not opposed to the idea in theory, Bannister and other potentially affected residents have been demanding more information since hearing about the project early last year.
Bannister district landowner and well known poet, Russell Erwin said there had been a "paucity" of detail from TransGrid.
"We've had no further official advice on the route and everything has been done by incremental suggestion," he said.
"...Various people have had one-on-one meetings so the company hasn't been exposed to huge anger."
But Mr Erwin said people were angry because they'd written numerous emails and made phone calls to Transgrid, without response.
Now his group has secured a public meeting with company representatives at the Bannister hall at 6pm on Thursday, April 29. It is also open to affected landowners.
"The purpose is for us to get a clear stated position from TransGrid, for them to say where it is going and for us to hold them to account," Mr Erwin said.
He feared that with the area already dominated by wind and solar farms, the transmission line would make the area semi-industrial.
Mr Erwin lives on a 158-hectare property at Bannister, 23km southwest of Crookwell. He's planted numerous trees as a wildlife corridor over the years but Transgrid has proposed to run their line through the holding. Currently, a wide corridor has been identified.
He's worried that swathes of this vegetation could be lost.
"If the line goes through there is also the whole question of compensation," he said.
"The legislation is hopelessly out of date and only compensates people for the easement and not the wider property market. If I had to sell, it would be to the Sydney and Canberra hobby farm market but who wants a great big transmission line going through their land?"
Resist HumeLink has met with Goulburn MP Wendy Tuckerman and Hume MP Angus Taylor, with the latter suggesting minor changes to the route might be possible if landowners came up with an alternative. A group in the Tumbarumba area had argued their case after undertaking independent mapping.
"I think the pollies think this a fait accompli but we dispute that," Mr Erwin said.
A TransGrid spokeswoman said the company had made over 4000 contacts with landowners and had met with councils and representative groups. It had 230 contacts with Bannister district property owners whose holdings fell between Bannister Lane and Range Rd. This included on-property meetings.
"TransGrid is refining the route options for HumeLink. Information collected during landowner consultation will be included in the route planning process and the Environmental Impact Statement," she said in a statement.
"Where possible, we will plan new transmission lines on public land or adjacent to existing easements.
"Feedback from landowners and communities helps us identify environmental impacts, integrate local knowledge about land uses into our planning and improve design."
The company expected to announce a proposed narrowed 200 metre study corridor by mid year, with the final 80m to be determined in 2022.
"The progressive narrowing of the corridor is the result of numerous interdependent tasks," the spokeswoman said.
An interactive map on the HumeLink website identifies areas with sensitive environmental, social and other constraints.
The company pointed out that communities could also give feedback through the independent planning process.
It hopes to gain state government approval by late 2022 and to start construction in mid 2024 for a 2026 finish.
The company has to prove to the Australian Energy Market Regulator that the project will benefit consumers in order to gain funding approval.
Mr Erwin is hoping for a strong turn-up at the meeting, including Bannaby landowners who he says are equally disturbed by the line's potential impact.
"The whole district will be affected," he said.
"People really don't want to spend time fighting big organisations but in this case, they feel they must."
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