David Pont, Indonesia

It’s no secret to Echo readers that Alan Dickens has been a thorn in Council’s side for a while, but while thorns can be irritating, well-argued criticisms and probing questions are a bulwark of democracy. In the current world situation, it’s something we all need to value and guard.

However, Alan’s letter (2 September) mentioning my attendance at a Waste Water and Recycling committee meeting needs some correction. The meeting was in May 2018, not 2019. I was briefly in Australia and two councillors invited me to contribute from my extensive experience in Belongil matters. I wasn’t ‘paid’.

Alan thinks the meeting wasn’t minuted, but I made some notes. The discussion ran for three hours and covered many topics. On the constructed wetlands, successful on a world scale, which I designed in 2003-04, I offered the opinion that the upper section of the wetlands is in generally poor condition (not ‘total neglect’) and was never planted correctly. It’s one reason why I’m so concerned about Council’s current plan [to re-route effluent down a shorter path to the Belongil Estuary].

Lastly, Council staff indicated proposed actions: qualified people would be engaged to assess (1) the constructed wetlands, (2) the Sandmine Drain in the Tyagarah Nature Reserve (with impacts on landholders south of the railway line), and (3) review of the 24ha effluent reuse project with a view to expansion. Those commitments appear to have gone by the board.   

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