Ballina residents from left, Melanie and Matilda (8 months) Short, and Ray and Maria Devine look over the back fence at construction works taking place inside the Country Energy complex.
Ballina residents from left, Melanie and Matilda (8 months) Short, and Ray and Maria Devine look over the back fence at construction works taking place inside the Country Energy complex. David Nielsen

Fears for toxic storage

RESIDENTS living near the Ballina substation are calling for a meeting with Country Energy to discuss the storage of potentially toxic transformers at the site.

Storage facilities are being planned for more than 30 sites across NSW, including the Temple Street depot at Ballina, the field service centre in Colches Street at Casino, as well as sites at Tweed Heads and Grafton.

The sheds would store decommissioned transformers, which may contain dangerous chemicals known as polychlorinated biphynels (PCBs).

Last week Carney Goodger, who lives in Vera Street near the Ballina substation, was invited to tour the site.

He had expressed concerns about Country Energy’s plans for the depot.

“We were able to explain to Mr Goodger what is being proposed and I hope we were able to put his concerns to rest,” Country Energy spokesman Mike Hely said.

But other residents are still worried that they are being left in the dark.

Mr Hely confirmed that other nearby locals were not invited on the field site tour.

However he said they had all received an ‘explanatory letter and an invitation to contact Country Energy if they would like more information’.

He said Country Energy would ‘keep neighbours advised of the work we are doing and welcome their feedback’.

Vera Street resident Melanie Short said people just wanted to know what was happening.

“We accept that these transformers have to be stored somewhere,” she said.

“But there are quite a few people who are concerned about it. We want to talk to Country Energy in an open forum.”

Ms Shortt said residents hoped to organise a meeting between residents and Country Energy staff.

Page MP Janelle Saffin, Ballina MP Don Page and several Ballina Shire councillors have also been contacted about the issue.


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