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Byron Shire
November 27, 2022

WATER Northern Rivers and the BES oppose dam rescission motion

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Rocky Creek area that would have been destroyed by Dunoon Dam. Photo David Lowe.

Both WATER Northern Rivers and the Ballina Environment Society (BES) have expressed their opposition to the rescission motion proposed for Rous County Council in regards to the Dunoon Dam.

WATER Northern Rivers says the rescission motion proposed would take us backwards and the BES believes strongly that it is a thoroughly retrograde step which denies contemporary water management methodologies, will desecrate a pristine environment and is oblivious to the cogent arguments supporting the two previous rejections of the Dunoon Dam solution of 2013.

The BES also says the most serious reason for past rejections is the heritage value of the Widjabul Wia-ba’sl valid claim as traditional custodians of the land.

Tomorrow Rous County Council will vote on the motion that will significantly alter the decision made on December 16, 2020.

A destructive, disrespectful and unconscionable dam

WATER Northern Rivers says the rescission motion put forward by Cr Sharon Cadwallader, Cr Robert Mustow and Cr Sandra Humphrys will set out to pass the original motion without three key elements that are crucial to stopping what they says is a destructive, disrespectful and unconscionable dam.

The BES says that the rescission motion, if successful, would again motivate the exploration, planning and financial feasibilities for the Dunoon Dam project.

The BES says that in addition, the Rous Councillors should sustain the original cease work decision on the basis of substantial environmental damage concerns and the need to implement modern demand water management processes to provide for the needs of the community.

BES also urges Rous Water to cease planning on using Marom Creek ground water as a substitute for the dam. Modern demand management does not include that mode of environmental pillage.

Thank You postcards to Rous Board

In response to this rescission motion, WATER Northern Rivers invited community members to write Thank You postcards to the Rous Board for stopping the Dunoon Dam. There was an overwhelming response. In just 15 days, after hundreds of volunteer hours and many conversations, 915 people from across the Northern Rivers have signed the postcards in support of the decision made on 16 December 2020 to cease all work on the Dunoon Dam.

That is on top of the 90% of submissions made against the dam during Rous County Council’s public exhibition of the Integrated Water Management Plan.

Of the 915 people who signed the postcards 35% were from Byron Shire, 10% were from Ballina Shire, 47% from Lismore City Council, and 8% from Richmond Valley Council and other areas.

Only 6% were from the area directly impacted by the proposed Dunoon Dam, a fact that proves the movement for Smart Water Options is broadly supported across the region.

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  1. Great to hear that the Ballina Environment Society (BES) is speaking out publicly about the ill conceived Dunoon Dam. BES has been a champion for environmental issues in the Ballina Shire for over 30 years.

  2. The problem with recommending Alstonville Groundwater as a future water supply source – whether or not it is viable as a water source – is that some members of the community will not agree, and complain, and then after years of work and millions of dollars Rous will not use the water source to avoid community unrest.
    Rous already has a bore at Converys Lane which it hasn’t used in 13 years – most likely because of complaints.

    Rous needs to look again and adopt a water source that can be implemented, they have already wasted millions of dollars and 10-20 years working on options that have gone nowhere, and anyone who thought the Dunoon Dam was going to be adopted by Rous hasn’t been paying attention for the last 25 years.

    Also you can tell the Convery’s Lane bore hasn’t been used for 13 years from the usage data that has been in Rous’s Business Paper for ~35 years. It is missing from the latest Business Paper and you would think this is information that the Councillors would want to see. Council meetings have been reduced from monthly to once every two months, so you hope the Councillors are not running out of energy and/or interest. If they are maybe you could get rid of the Councillors altogether and adopt a customer owned model – similar to the NRMA (mutual organisation) or Norco (farmer owned cooperative) organisations which seem very successful.


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