The Lismore City Council last night sent another strong message to mining company Metgasco …. ‘you’re not welcome’.
A majority of councillors backed a motion from deputy mayor Simon Clough to refuse the mining company access to council-owned roads.
The motion was in response to an announcement by Metgasco that it planned to carry out seismic testing on Rock Valley and Bungabee roads late next month.
Prior to the meeting, Cr Clough said Metgasco had made the announcement without contacting the council.
‘Metgasco seems intent on carrying out seismic testing near the Bentley well site without approaching Lismore City Council for permission to use it roads and improvements,’ Cr Simon Clough said in the statement.
‘It is because of this attitude that I have put an urgency motion to Council for tonight’s meeting.
‘The motion will reaffirm Council’s position to refuse access to Metgasco and any other companies for any coal seam gas operations, seismic testing, drilling and associated activities on Council owned and operated land and impose a moratorium on all coal seam gas on Council owned and operated land.
‘The urgency motion also encourages Council to take whatever legal action necessary to prevent Metgasco and any other exploration company from carrying out seismic testing on any Council roads.’
‘It’s time that council took action and reminded Metgasco of the community’s position.
‘But also it’s a strong practical measure in the sense that it’s saying that council is prepared to take this matter further if necessary.’
Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell said a third part of the motion called on the state government to take immediate action to stop any mining in the area.
‘The council will contact the premier, the minister for mining and our local member (Thomas George) requesting that the government intervene,’ she said.
Cr Dowell said Metgasco’s announcement could be a bargaining ploy, as the miner is still in talks with the state government about possible compensation and licence buybacks.
The motion was supported 5-2, with four councillors absent.
Crs Vanessa Ekins, Mathew Scheibel and Gianpiero Battista were at the LG conference and Cr Greg Bennett is on leave.
In favour were Crs Jenny Dowell, Simon Clough, Isaac Smith, Ray Houston and Glenys Ritchie.
Crs Neil Marks and Graham Meinke voted against.