Tree-trimming around power-lines added cost to Council, Mayor

Transferring the responsibility for tree-trimming around power-lines to Cowra Council would create an added financial burden to ratepayers, Cowra Mayor, Councillor Bill West has said.

Council is writing to the Minister for Local Government to ensure that the full burden of this new cost — previously carried by electricity generators — is not transferred to Council.

A newly-formed Vegetation Management Consultation Group heard of a proposal for Council and Essential Energy to implement a shared responsibility for these works in the future.

"The cost and responsibility for trimming, lopping, and removing vegetation that encroaches on, threatens, or impedes powerlines in the Shire has previously been the remit of the power companies that administer the poles and wires," Cr West explained.

"This is now changing. Council needs to know how much of the uptake of this work is going to be carried-out by our crews and equipment," Cr West added.

The Essential Energy Vegetation Management Consultation Group is currently proposing a shared responsibility to vegetation maintenance in urban areas, Cr West said.

This 'shared responsibility' model includes issues such as arrangements for debris removal, removal and replanting strategies for trees under power-lines, and replacing of electrical infrastructure with underground or covered lines.

"Although this shared approach has merit and is a common-sense approach for a number of issues with a better result for Council's urban street tree network, the likelihood is that this will involve more expenditure on Councils for this responsibility," Cr West said.

"We need to know how this new shared responsibility model will operate, and how much extra time, cost, and work Council and by extension, the ratepayers of Cowra will be up for," Cr West concluded.