'Exhibitionists': Trevor Bertram and Ian Wilson warm up to face parishioners
Last night (Wednesday 27 Nov) was cause for another major celebration when a St Helier Parish Assembly voted to sell us an area of land in the old Westmount quarry on which to site the much-needed St Helier West Primary substation. This £12million project still has to go through the formal planning process, but the sale of the land for £250,000 marked the end of a seven-year quest on behalf of Jersey Electricity to find a suitable site for this vital infrastructure that both the Parish and States Planning Department agreed upon. The approval of the sale of the site was the culmination of years of work by, in particular, Energy Projects Manager Peter Snape and Strategic Planning Engineer Trevor Bertram. Now they can finally get down to the business of actually overseeing the building of the facility which is scheduled to be commissioned in 2016.
Top guns: David Padfield and Peter Snape join the action . . .
So crucial was the vote that throughout the afternoon, prior to the Assembly, we staged an exhibition in the Parish Hall to inform Parishioners of the importance of this project to the future security of their electricity supplies. Energy Division Director David Padfield, Trevor Bertram and Peter Snape were on hand to answer any questions not covered by the posters and leaflets. These technical experts were supported at the exhibition by Brand Manager Ian Wilson and Communications Officer Lynn Schofield. When the Assembly started, CEO Chris Ambler made a compelling presentation and answered questions from the audience before the big vote by secret ballot.
But the hardest part of battle is the wait: David and Trevor have a history lesson
It was a huge relief for all concerned when the proposal went through by 48 votes to 3 and senior managers thank those staff parishioners who turned up to lend vital support.
We identified a need to reinforce our network serving the north, south and west of St Helier as long ago as 2006 and we have been trying to acquire a suitable site for the new primary substation since then. Existing customers in the area are at risk of supply interruptions as several cable circuits, which were installed over 50 years ago, are becoming stressed due to current high electrical loadings. The network in central and western St Helier is also now near full capacity and we are currently unable to upgrade existing customers or provide new supplies.
It's in the bag! A delighted Peter after the vote
The site of the new substation is critical as it must integrate into our current 11kV and 90kV networks between Queen’s Road and the Esplanade with minimum cable lengths but maximum cable separation to ensure resilience. The site also needs to be accessible for maintenance but distanced enough from residential areas not to cause nuisance or a safety risk.
Other sites in the area that we have considered along with Planning and the Parish have been: part buried in People’s Park, the former Inn of the Park car park, replacing Ferguson’s Folly in Lower Park, further west in Lower Park, Victoria Park and Overdale Grounds Val Andre. Seven years after we first started our search Westmount quarry it is. Now the business of obtaining Planning consents and later procurement can begin in earnest. Hats off to Trevor and Peter!
Cheers: Time for some sustenance after a very long day and night (in fact, years)