Fears program hands power to wealthy

MT LAWLEY, Menora, North Beach and Trigg may be the next suburbs to get underground power but some Stirling councillors say the program favours wealthier suburbs.

The City of Stirling put forward the suburbs for Round Six of the State Governments Underground Power Plan (SUPP) on the basis that the catchment areas affected would contribute 60 per cent of the total project costs.

Cr Terry Tyzack said he was “appalled” at the costs to ratepayers.

“Ratepayers should not have to pay for underground power,” Cr Tyzack said

Cr David Michael said the program was a cause of angst in many communities.

“Communities are pitted against communities for this; we are bickering amongst ourselves about our own suburbs,” Cr Michael said.

“It should be about where the older power poles are, not about who can afford it.

“Many people dream of having underground power, they just can’t afford it.”

Cr Joe Ferrante said there was a “strong and prevalent” need for underground power in his ward.

“Half of Mt Lawley has underground power so the other half really needs to be completed, There is general community support,” Cr Ferrante said.

Cr Samantha Jenkinson said she was disappointed in the approach by the Government.

“Cost is a factor and communities able to pay more are not necessarily the whole city,” Cr Jenkinson said.

“Balcatta, for example, has a lower income than other suburbs and lower income areas aren’t going to have this happen.”

Cr Stephanie Proud said the community needed to know what the plan would mean for the bottom line and for their pockets.