Editorial: Saue Parish, Mostly Harmless*

PHOTO: Liis Treimann

As the reader remembers, «The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy» by Douglas Adams begins by two examples of public vs private interests collision.

To begin with, main hero Arthur Dent learns that his house will be in the way of a freeway and is to be demolished. Thereafter, they let him know that the entire planet Earth is to be demolished as construction of a cosmic freeway is in pipeline. Regarding protests by Arthur and inhabitants of the Earth, the answer is the same: the plans were out publicly (so what if, in one case, in a dark cellar, and in the other – far away in the galaxy) and thus the formalities are covered.

Beholding the Saue Parish high-voltage line debate, one other book also comes to mind, «The Patty Diphusa Stories and Other Writings» by filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar, containing the slightly melancholy statement: life has started to imitate art. We have a case of that here – the ones deciding the power lines must have recently enjoyed the book by Douglas Adams.

Again, state and community interests seem to be badly at odds. «Seem to be», as at closer observation an option exists to solve the situation – but that would take some thinking and mutual discussions. 

In a word, the problem is this: into Saue Parish, the state wants to build a high voltage power line supposed to guarantee that Estonia is safely supplied with electricity. Saue Parish people, whose homes would be nearby, are not overly happy – and understandably so. The high-voltage line’s protected zone and impacted area would include homes and garden plots, the environment will suffer and real estate prices will drop. Sure: the plans were announced, but only in the local parish newspaper and briefly even there.

One might think it’s the familiar NMN syndrome – Not in My Neighbourhood. All would realise a project is important and stay supportive till it comes near home.  

However, the syndrome is handy to criticize any opposition and is often used incorrectly. The Saue Parish people are not simply criticizing, but are also seeking for solutions which, while allowing the high-voltage line to be built, would harm them least.

Thus, it’s not the issue of the locals failing to realise the project’s importance. Rather, they believe it could be accomplished in a better way – with maximum common good, damage to private households would be minimal. 

This is called seeking for compromises and the foundation for it is simple: with a project nice and needed, the ways to execute it are often more than one. And, should solutions exist to build the line and keep locals satisfied, this is worth the discussion. So this is what we advise the state and the local government to do.

*A description for planet Earth in travel guide in book by Douglas Adams.