MPs face powerline backlash

THE huge proposed Cobaki Lakes development in the Tweed is set to become a Queensland election issue, with southern Gold Coasters claiming massive powerlines to the planned township will destroy their environment.

Residents in a protest group yesterday said they would vote against two Queensland Labor politicians, Burleigh MP Christine Smith and Mudgeeraba MP Di Reilly, if the Queensland electricity company Energex bulldozed a green belt near homes to build 110,000-volt overhead lines to Cobaki Lakes.

“The lungs of our suburbs are disappearing so Energex can supply New South Wales with power,” said Neville Richardson, a Palm Beach resident and spokesperson for the Stop the Overhead Powerlines campaign.

“They are going to bulldoze the green belt through the Palm Beach area and put powerlines within 20m of residential areas.

“The 30m green belt between the motorway and homes will be bulldozed which means those people will get more pollution, more dust and lose their amenity.”

Mr Richardson warned the development was becoming “very much an election issue” and said while no reasonable person would object to interstate sharing of electricity, arrangements should be made to put the powerlines underground.

He said Energex's planned powerlines were “designed to grab revenue from a NSW development at the expense of the local Gold Coast community”.

He claimed the developers of Cobaki Lakes, multi-millionaire Bob Ell's Leda Developments, had told the NSW Government in its development application: “Country Energy has advised they are negotiating a major linkage between the SEQEB substation in the Tugun desalination plant and the new substation on the north eastern corner of the Piggabeen Road and Cobaki Parkway.”

Mr Richardson said while Energex was making record profits the executives were arguing that there was no money to place the powerlines underground.

Details for Cobaki Lakes, on the southern doorstep of the Gold Coast, were unveiled late last year.

The plans were put on public display until early this month.

They are now being assessed by the NSW Department of Planning.

Development group Leda hopes the first blocks of land will be on the market late next year or early 2010.

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