Residents along Robe’s Esplanade will have uninterrupted views of the coastline, thanks to a $40,000 donation and a dozen ratepayers paying an additional $12,000.
- Council boss says residents have been talking about project for up to 40 years
- The $475,000 cost was too much for the council to cover alone
- Project also expected to boost Robe’s appeal to tourists
The small coastal town on the Limestone Coast, which is a tourist hotspot in summer, is set to move overhead power lines underground.
Robe District Council has set up a separate rate to fund the project.
The 11 ratepayers with properties in front of the soon-to-be undergrounded power lines — from 30 Esplanade to Newton Road — will pay an additional $2,325.50 each year for five years.
Two-thirds of the $470,000 project will be funded through the state government-run Power Line Economic Committee.
Three residents donated $40,000 and the council will cover the remaining $113,000 through the new rate.
Chief executive James Holyman said the council received “very little feedback” about the new rate during the consultation period in June.
“Some of the ratepayers have said to me, they started [talking about this] 20 to 40 years ago,” he said.
“It’s a fantastic outcome for the households because they’ll be looking at pristine coastline, not through power lines.”
Mr Holyman said the project cost was previously hard to justify.
“We could see the value in it, but it was — in comparison to the other priorities — very low on the list,” he said.
“I had a conversation with the ratepayers and said, ‘if you’re prepared to contribute, we could accelerate that as a priority’.
“[The ratepayers are] very excited because they couldn’t foresee it happening, and it’s now going to be done this financial year.”
Robe ticks tourism box
Power Line Economic Committee chair Kim Steinle said her organisation assessed project applications based on their benefits to the community.
“We will look at projects which have a commercial element, or they might have a tourism element, or they may have a heritage focus,” he said.
“Those tend to get a higher priority because it’s a clear advantage to the community.”
Mr Steinle said the Robe project had an “attractive tourism focus”.
“The project size was convenient, it fitted with some of the other projects in that year,” he said.
“It meets the criteria in terms of it links up several tourism areas for cycling and pedestrians.”
Mr Steinle said it could be a tricky process to move the power lines underground.
“We do draw on the experience of our team of engineers who design these things,” he said.
“In this instance, we’ve got three light poles and then nine pits.”
Mr Steinle said the project was due to be completed by March next year.