WATER Northern Rivers is calling on Rous County Council to immediately release the full results of community consultation regarding Future Water 2060, following the discovery that Rous has lobbied behind the scenes to get the Dunoon Dam on the NSW Government agenda.
They say this happened before the consultation process had finished.
‘Buried in the draft Far North Coast Future Water Strategy, we see that Rous County Council and Lismore City Council had written to the Minister for Water to get the Dunoon Dam on the state government agenda,’ said Simon Clough.
Mr Clough is a former Lismore and Rous County Councillor, now a spokesperson for WATER Northern Rivers.
‘The release of the draft regional strategy now reveals that Rous was directly lobbying the minister for a dam at the same time as asking the community for feedback.
‘We are also aware that Rous staff have been actively promoting the Dunoon dam to member councils Lismore, Ballina, Richmond Valley, and Byron Bay.
‘The community does not like to be involved with consultation processes that don’t appear to be genuine,’ he said.
‘The Draft Far North Coast Regional Water Strategy makes it very clear that sections of Rous have continued to push the out-dated, destructive and highly contentious Dunoon dam proposal to the Minister for Water,’ said Annie Kia, spokesperson for WATER Northern Rivers.
‘It’s disappointing that Rous has had a very narrow focus on the dam, while other experts call for an all options on the table approach.
‘There is widespread opposition to the Dunoon dam because it would obliterate rare rainforest and Aboriginal heritage, and we now know that there are better ways to achieve a resilient water system.
‘In July Rous County Council called for public submissions on its Future Water 2060. Submissions closed on 9th September.
‘Two months is more than enough time for a consultant to report on the results,’ said Ms Kia.
WATER Northern Rivers has called for the immediate release of the community consultation report.
In the interests of transparency, they say this must be made public well in advance of Rous Council’s meeting of 18th November.
Ms Kia said it’s essential that councillors, the community, the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, and the minister, are fully informed.
More stories about the Dunoon Dam
Ballina's Cr Eoin Johnston is calling for council to invite senior technical representatives of Rous County Council to provide a briefing to Ballina's councillors on the ramifications of using the Alstonville Aquifer as a major source of water supply to the region for the next forty years.
Yesterday's extraordinary meeting of Rous County Council included two more attempts to get the Dunoon Dam back on the table, both of which were defeated, 5 votes to 3.
Yesterday's meeting of the Rous County Council saw the rescission motion go down 5:3 after another passionate debate, but Cr Sharon Cadwallader said she remained determined to keep the Dunoon Dam as an option for the future water supply of the Northern Rivers.
Both WATER Northern Rivers and the Ballina Environment Society have expressed their opposition to the rescission motion proposed for Rous County Council in regards to the Dunoon Dam.
Widjabul Wia-bal traditional custodians are deeply concerned about a motion proposed for Rous County Council’s next meeting, which would overturn their decision to cease all work on the Dunoon Dam, rezone the land and begin the disposal of Rocky Creek properties.