NSW electricity grid operator TransGrid will establish new community consultative groups for its planned $2.1 billion power line between Wagga and the Snowy Hydro scheme.
The HumeLink project involves building 65-metre-high towers with 70-metre easements, prompting concern from landowners in its path about potential interference with farming, health effects and property value loss.
Landowners and community members in the Snowy Valleys council area and surrounding regions from today will be able to nominate for participation in new community consultative groups.
TransGrid's new round of community consultation came as its relationship with some landowners outside Wagga broke down last month.
TransGrid executive manager of delivery Craig Stallan said the groups were being established to provide a structured, ongoing forum for people to provide input about HumeLink in a transparent process.
"The community consultative groups will be a genuine opportunity for landowners and others living and working in the HumeLink project corridor to provide information as we plan this critical infrastructure," Mr Stallan said.
"The groups represent a reset of TransGrid's approach to landowner and community engagement and we are committed to listening and working respectfully, effectively and transparently with communities."
TransGrid said the new groups formed part of its response to the 20 recommendations recently made by landowner advocate, former NSW Commissioner for Fair Trading Rod Stowe, following his review of TransGrid's processes.
Successful nominees for the groups will be determined by an independent chairperson and announced next month with the groups expected to commence work shortly afterwards.
Mr Stowe's report found the community consultation did "not meet best practice standards" from a landowner perspective.
"The engagement process was not transparent; all the appropriate people had not been included in the process; landowners were not always treated with respect," the report said.
Members of the Kyeamba Valley Concerned Landowners Group later threatened to "lock the gate" against TransGrid over demands including a high priority on avoiding prime agricultural land and native vegetation, and "fair and reasonable" compensation.
TransGrid's Project Assessment Conclusions Report said HumeLink would benefit energy customers while creating more than 1000 construction jobs and bosting the region's economy.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: