One of the most contentious issues on the Tweed Shire in recent years has been the mining of water to be sold for being bottled.
As of last Friday, new groundwater water extraction facilities are no longer permitted in rural areas (RU2) of the Tweed Shire. This follows the completion of a planning proposal process started by Tweed Shire Council in late 2018.
An amendment to remove the clause in the Tweed Local Environmental Plan (LEP) 2014 that allowed water extraction facilities in the RU2 Rural Landscape Zone came into effect when the amendment was published on the NSW Legislation website on Friday, 29 May 2020.
The draft Planning Proposal was publicly exhibited from 20 August 2019 to 17 September 2019.
Three hundred and forty-three submissions were received in response to the exhibition. Three hundred and thirty-eight were in support of the proposal and five were opposed.
Mayor thanks Council staff for great work
Mayor of Tweed Katie Milne said she wanted to thank Council staff for their great work in persevering to provide a very well-reasoned justification for this planning proposal, based on the precautionary principle, after it was initially rejected by NSW Planning.
‘Water extraction has been one of the most contentious issues we have seen in Council.
‘It has been a very long and difficult chapter over many, many years and I’m sure the community will be thrilled with the news.
‘The community is to be commended for their outstanding campaign of sustained and concerted advocacy to protect the significant rural and environmental values of the Tweed,’ said Cr Milne.
Deputy Mayor: welcome news
Deputy Mayor Chris Cherry also welcomed the news. ‘This has been an outcome long sought after by the current Council and the community and is a big step towards achieving the community’s desire to move away from being known as the water bottling capital of NSW,’ she said,
‘The proposal was thoroughly examined in light of the Chief Scientist’s Report into the sustainability of commercial water extraction in the Tweed Shire which highlighted how little is known about our hydrology and the underground connections which exist.
‘This change will help to protect our natural water resources in the Tweed Shire for future generations.
‘Amending the local planning laws sends a strong message out there with regards to the community’s sentiment on the water bottling industry,’ said Cr Cherry.
Existing approved water bottling facilities are allowed to continue their operations on the properties where they are currently approved, as required by the State Government.
The LEP amendment was published in Friday’s Government Gazette and is effective immediately.