Poles apart on native tree trimming

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Geoff VivianMidwest Times
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Former Mingenew councillor Peter Gledhill refuses to pay to have a tree trimmed to protect the power line that terminates in this pole. He said it does not supply any property.
Camera IconFormer Mingenew councillor Peter Gledhill refuses to pay to have a tree trimmed to protect the power line that terminates in this pole. He said it does not supply any property. Credit: Peter Gledhill

Western Power continues to trim a native tree on a Mingenew property to protect a power line that does not supply any property, according to the owner, who refuses to pay for the pruning.

“They sent me a final notice and they said they will be putting it in the hands of debt collectors in two weeks time,” Peter Gledhill said.

Mr Gledhill, a former Shire of Mingenew vice-president, said his issues with Western Power began several years ago when an inspector came and noticed the flooded gum.

“He said ‘this tree is a native tree, they don’t charge for it’,” he said.

“The next year I didn’t get charged but the following year I got a bill, they said ‘it has been planted’. “I said I had been here for 50 years and I didn’t plant it.”

According to Mr Gledhill, his neighbour pointed out the power line did not supply power to anyone, so he called Western Power to see if they could come to a sensible agreement about the tree.

“They came back after about six months and said they wanted to keep the last pole in Irwin Street to put underground power to my neighbour’s house if it is ever sold.

“But it is not the closest pole to the house. There are three poles in the vicinity of my neighbour’s house, and the other two supply power to the Catholic church and his house.” A Western Power spokesman said there was no “termination pole” in the street.

“All poles in the area form part of the network that feeds power to the local neighbourhood,” he said.

“The removal of the potential hazard from a tree branch hitting the network was critical to the safe operation of the network, especially in the lead up to bushfire season.

“An emergency outage caused by vegetation interference on that section of the network would have impacted the power supply to approximately 80 customers.”

The spokesman said it made no difference the tree in question was a native species.

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