Elliot St residents Geoff Morrissey, left, and Neil Deans want the overhead lines on Elliot St to be put underground. Insert: Spacers have been used to keep the lines apart. Photos: Andrew Board.

Historic street sick of historic power lines

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Residents on The Wood’s Elliot St say they happily embrace its historic status, but they are fed up with its historic power lines.

For 14 years residents have tried to get its overhead lines put underground and successfully pushed to get the ducting laid in 1998 when the road was dug up for storm water upgrades. But the ducting remains empty and successive attempts to coax Nelson City Council into putting the lines underground have failed.

Elliot St is one of the few streets left in The Wood with overhead lines and residents have made submissions over the past three years to get the power lines put under ground with no luck. Resident Neil Deans says enough is enough. “I’d rather be told that we’ll never get money out of the council than keep getting told to put in submissions year after year that don’t get noticed. It’s a waste of everybody’s time if it’s just a fob off. It’s a bit disheartening. If it’s not going to happen just tell us that.”

Next year the street, which is home to the oldest state houses in Nelson and was given heritage status in 1993, will celebrate its centenary. They say they hope their “100 year old lines” will not be around for the party.

Residents were last year given a figure of $73,000 to do the job. Nelson Electricity Ltd says it has been in discussions with the residents and has agreed in the past to pay for the new lines, leaving a shortfall of around $60,000 for the council. Residents say they are happy to pay for new lines from their houses to the road.

Phil Goodall, of NEL, says the company is happy to assist residents to put lines underground and they’ve tried twice to make that a reality at Elliot St, without success.

Another resident, Geoff Morrissey, says it’s ironic that the street was the first to get new high speed broadband last month but still can’t sort out its power line issue. “Our view is ‘let’s catch up with the 20th century’, broadband will take us into the 21st but we just might not have power to run it.”

The residents say they’ve tried on and off for years to get the power lines changed and feel they have done their bit in renovating houses for the heritage president without being supported by the council.

“I think the council’s contribution to the heritage prescient is giving us heritage power lines,” says Neil. “This whole business of heritage protection, which the council wants to do more of, is a whole partnership between the owners of the heritage buildings and the council and we think we’ve done our bit and we’d like the council to come to the table.”

Nelson mayor Aldo Miccio was unavailable for comment on Monday but earlier said he would look into the matter.