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Byron Shire
December 3, 2022

Rescission motion on table for Dunoon Dam

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Three pro-dam councillors have announced a rescission motion to be discussed at the next Rous County Council meeting, seeking to overturn the recent decision to abandon the Dunoon Dam.

Crs Sharon Cadwallader, Robert Mustow and Sandra Humphrys have lodged the motion, which relates to the disposal of council-owned land in the dam area.

If the land is sold, it would be difficult if not impossible for the dam option to be re-opened again in future.

View from Lismore

Lismore’s Rous Cr Darlene Cook told Echonetdaily, ‘The rescission motion in part reads: a) Provide a report on the orderly exit from Dunoon Dam as an option in the Future Water Project. b) Commence work on the exit strategy once the long-term viability of Scenario 1 Groundwater has been confirmed…’

She said, ‘We already know that the groundwater strategy will only supply our needs for around 8-9 years; this timeframe gave Rous the window it needed to get the dam assessed and constructed.

Rous County Councillors
Rous County Council and staff (L-R) Cr Simon Richardson, Cr Vanessa Ekins, Phillip Rudd (General Manager), Cr Sandra Humphrys, Cr Keith Williams (Chair), Michael McKenzie (Future Water Project Manager), Cr Sharon Cadwallader (D/Chair), Cr Darlene Cook, Cr Robert Mustow.

‘It is not a long term viable option without other supply sources coming online.

‘If we delay the exit strategy and hold on to the lands at Dunoon – we leave our community, the environment and the Elders with a sword of Damocles hanging over their heads,’ said Cr Cook.

‘Does anyone really believe that the results of any ecological or cultural heritage assessments in the future would give a different answer than we have heard recently?’

Lismore Cr Vanessa Ekins said she had not yet seen any formal wording for the motion, or received any ‘official communication from Rous on this matter,’ so as far as she’s concerned, ‘the decision on Dunoon Dam stands.’

For the rescission motion to succeed, it would require the support of Chair Keith Williams, and/or the support of two other councillors.

Chair Williams told Echonetdaily this morning, ‘The rescission was lodged within days of the meeting. The focus of the motion is mostly on what to do with the site.

‘I think that decisions about the site are going to require a long process involving many parties, but particularly the traditional custodians of the area. Having already made a clear decision I won’t be supporting the motion,’ he said.

Byron Crs Basil Cameron and Simon Richardson have not yet commented on the rescission motion.

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  1. Great to see Cr Williams will not be supporting this rescission motion. If Rous is truly interested in water security the first thing they should do is ask for a report on the status of the pumping station at Howard’s Grass – the so-called “Lismore Source’. This project cost some $45 million, & was promising a source of water during dry times. Apparently it is broken, but the very expensive pipeline to Rocky Creek is still there, & the repairs to the pumping station are probably only minor.
    In the longer-term, Rous could become a leader in responsible water management, by encouraging decentralised collection of water, water re-use, & supplying reticulated water during dry times.

  2. Well said Richard,

    So many options need further investigation and proper costings, particularly with the massive drop in electricity costs. I can’t see an expensive new dam receiving Government funding in the Northern Rivers. Much better ways to spend $650 million dollars than to destroy that precious area.

    Cr Cadwallader is just mounting a scare campaign because she thinks it will help in her quest to become the next Mayor of Ballina. Saying things like ‘parents are struggling to pay school fees and can’t afford expensive water charges’, and even going so far as to compare pumping highly treated water back into the water catchment areas of existing water storage areas with drinking toilet water. Shame on your Cr Cadwallader to encourage division and fear in our community for your own perceived political gain.


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