TransGrid has met with local residents regarding the Cooma Substation Rebuild Project, which will help to ensure the continued safe, reliable and efficient supply of electricity to the NSW alpine region and far south coast.
Staff from TransGrid met with local residents on Monday to hear their concerns and provide information on the organisation’s ongoing work at the substation.
In consultation with Cooma Monaro Shire Council, TransGrid has planted over 90 semi-mature trees and 120 tube stock along the highway. 24 semi-mature trees have also been planted on the northern boundary and these trees are expected to grow 10 to 15 metres tall and 10 metres wide.
“Screening of the entire boundary of the Cooma Substation is not a feasible option as the western end of the substation will be the location of major power line connections and clear access is required for maintenance and operational reasons,” Community Engagement Manager, Paul Johnson said.
The location of threatened Themeda grasslands within the substation site also limits the possibility for screening on the western side. Planting trees within the area where a threatened grass species is located is prohibited under the Environment Planning and Assessment Act (1979).
“Unfortunately, there can be no screening work carried out in the area of the threatened grass.”
A Review of Environmental Factors (REF) study was undertaken for the project by an independent consultant prior to works commencing at the site.
“This study demonstrates that a full and proper assessment of all environmental aspects was undertaken, which includes a visual impact study.”
In addition to the consultation associated with the formal environmental process, consultation was held with adjacent landowners, the local council, authorities and government Ministers.
“Separate to this process stories were carried in the local newspapers, quarterly newsletters have been distributed locally to the community and updates were placed on our website with relevant information.”
“TransGrid believes in community engagement and is always willing to listen to the community on suggestions on how we can improve.”
TransGrid is continuing to work with the Cooma Monaro Shire Council to finalise the screening and planting around the substation and will take the recent resident’s feedback into their ongoing discussions.
“We look forward to continuing to work productively with both the local community and the Cooma Monaro Shire Council,” Mr Johnson added.
TransGrid has a proud record of support and cooperation with the Cooma-Monaro Community.
In 2014, the region was selected to take part in TransGrid’s Community Partnerships Program (CPP). The annual program provided funding to nine local community groups not-for-profit organisations across the region to assist in the development of their initiatives.
“Following the meeting on Monday, our staff were proud to attend the Cooma North Preschool who were recent CPP recipients in support of their safe shade structure”, said Mr Johnson.
TransGrid also conducted their school based safety program, BeSafeKidz at two local public schools to promote safety around electricity.