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Byron Shire
May 13, 2021

Chillingham declared gasfield free

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Chris Dobney

On Saturday the small Tweed village of Chillingham declared itself Gasfield Free.

And at a meeting in Newrybar on Sunday, about 80 residents voted to undertake road surveys of that village as well as Brooklet, Fernleigh and Pearces Creek with a view to declaring their roads CSG free in coming months.

It is the only locality within Ballina Shire to take such action, other than Meerschaum Vale.

Chillingham residents gathered to celebrate the culmination of a community road survey process that saw 146 (92.4 per cent) out of 158 respondents across 11 local roads support the declaration.

Tweed Mayor Barry Longland joined community members at their community celebration to accept the road declarations.

Newrybar residents heard from anti-CSG campaigners Wayne Somerville and Richard Deem from Kyogle Group Against Gas as well as Gasfield Free Communities co-ordinator Annie Kia.

A lively and intelligent debate followed, with input from a local geologist and former petroleum mining engineer among others.

While there was some disagreement about whether Newrybar itself was potentially directly affected, organic macadamia farmer and former geologist Bob Howard agreed the industry was using unproven technology and had been left by governments to be self-monitoring.

The declaration of Chillingham as Gasfield Free means around half of all communities in the Tweed Shire have joined the movement, says Michael McNamara, from Lock the Gate – Tweed.

It will be another milestone to celebrate at Rock the Gate, which will be held at Murwillumbah Showground from 10am on Saturday 13 October.


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