Story and photos Melissa Hargraves
Actions by a hand full of protectors at the site of the proposed controversial gas well at Bentley west of Lismore continue to disrupt or stop deliveries of drilling equipment there.
At least 50 protectors held a small-scale ‘action alert’ around sunrise (5am) on Saturday morning at the site 15km northwest of Casino.
Portable toilets were to be delivered at the site either Friday or Saturday, according to the group, but the contractor did not turn into the site and waited down the road for some time before leaving.
Knitting Nanna Against Gas, Anne Thompson, told Echonetdaily the meeting was productive as it was a ‘test run’ for a small action alert and, more importantly, gave the group a further opportunity to address the safety issues at the site.
‘We have decided that parking should only be on the site side of the road,’ Mrs Thompson said.
‘No-one should be crossing over on that road. Or people can park down at the Bungabee Road protector camp and walk up to the site.’
The entry point to the Metgasco operation site is in a 100km speed zone on a crest, which has locals and protectors worried.
‘We are not just concerned for our own safety, we have seen the size of the trucks that Metgasco use in their operations, there is no way they can safely turn into the site without causing danger to traffic coming from both directions,’ Mrs Thompson said.
The Bentley community opened their hall over the weekend for entertainment and free refreshments for protectors, farmers and visitors, while maintaining a vigil at the gas site up the road.
Martin William Leyssenaar was partly responsible for opening the Bentley Hall on Saturday.
He told Echonetdaily the gesture was to ‘open up the local hall near where gas drilling is trying to happen and provide information, refreshments and entertainment to locals and travellers’.
Mr Leyssenaar said the hall was a popular destination for travellers who often stopped to enjoy a picnic in the grounds.
One couple arrived from Brisbane and told Echonetdaily the city is largely disconnected and unaware of the mining threats to their environment.
They said they had themselves ‘sat on the fence’ for some time but were now passionate about informing people of the dangers of the industry.
Meanwhile, the Bentley blockade was chosen as the charity of the day at yesterday’s Lismore car boot market where protectors were well received as they collected money from market goers.