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Public To Have Say On Power Lines

May 27, 2002

Auckland City wants the public to have their say on where overhead telecommunications and power lines will be placed in the future.

Councillor Juliet Yates, chairperson of the City Development Committee, says network utility companies wanting to erect overhead lines will have to work through a new process introduced by changes proposed to the district plan.

Plan change 90 is now notified for public submissions. The submission period closes on July 29.

Those changes are being made to protect Auckland’s visual appearance and to encourage community input on the issue, she says.

“We are aiming to reduce the adverse effects of the installation of utilities such as sewers, pipes and overhead lines, electricity transformer cabinets and mailboxes.”

Councillor Yates said plan change 90 defined overhead lines as “discretionary.”

The plan change means companies will have to work more closely with the council and the community in determining the location and characteristics of the networks they wish to install, largely through a more detailed submission and consultation process.

“The council will now have better control over the location of overhead lines and there will also be more opportunity for public input through the resource consent process,” says Councillor Yates.

Technology changes and tough competition in the network industry in recent years had increased pressure to install new equipment such as overhead lines above designated road areas.

This was having an increasingly significant impact on the environment. For example, an operator might wish to dig up roads, regardless of whether another operator had done so, or to place equipment such as transformers, poles or lines above ground, paying little attention to the effects on the environment, she said.

“The road reserve is not just a transport corridor. It is part of the public open space, offering streetscape and visual qualities,” says Councillor Yates.

Councillor Yates said people recognised that technology changes were necessitating the use of overhead network lines and other equipment in some cases.

“The new rules recognise this and will enable new systems to be put in place.

“However, we do not want to be left with the derelict results of enterprises that leave unused transformer cabinets, mailboxes and overhead lines.”

The proposed new rules were designed to address these issues and make sure that where sensitive environmental issues were concerned, the public would have input.


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