16.3 C
Byron Shire
October 16, 2021

Ballina mayor hopeful loses bid for independent water science team a second time

Latest News

Let’s get real

AFL Aussie Rules Grand Final in Western Australia... Rugby League Grand Final in Queensland... Melbourne Cup in Tasmania?    Margaret Keating,...

Other News

A concrete solution to carbon capture

A newly developed concrete – made from recycled construction waste and industrial exhaust gases – could reduce construction emissions.

Hundreds queue to have COVID test and two new cases in the NNSWLHD

Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSWLHD) is urging people to continue coming forward for testing and vaccination after two further COVID-19 cases were reported in the 24 hours to 8pm last night, October 14. 

NSW govt’s Health Order lacks clarity

Confused and anxious when it comes to ambiguous and complex COVID-19 laws? You are not alone.

What makes a councillor?

Making decisions as a councillor is an important and serious job. The decisions that are made have a real...

Lismore school closed and COVID venues of concern and – October 14

Northern NSW Local Health District has been notified of new venues of concern associated with confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the region.

Mandatory vax

I write to you in response to the article on the front page of The Echo relating to mandatory...

Ballina Shire Councillor Sharon Cadwallader. Photo David Lowe.

Independent Ballina Shire Councillor, mayoral candidate and Rous County Council Deputy Chair Sharon Cadwallader has again failed to win majority support for a new water science team.

Cr Cadwallader first put the proposal to fellow Ballina Shire Councillors at their ordinary meeting in August, where she only managed to persuade independent Cr Eoin Johnston.

But the mayoral hopeful was allowed to present the motion again within three months thanks to having the signed support of two other councillors: Cr Johnston and independent Cr Stephen McCarthy.

Cadwallader continues Dunoon Dam campaign

Her second version of the motion came with an extra suggestion referring directly to the dumped option of a new hinterland dam in Dunoon.

The first part appeared exactly the same in September as in August: ‘that Council write to the Minister for Water, The Hon Melinda Pavey MP and Deputy Premier The Hon. John Barilaro to highlight the need for an independent scientific research organisation that would examine all aspects relating to water in our Richmond/Wilsons River catchment area, including Water Security, all options including desalination, Flood Mitigation, Water Quality and River Health and the potential economic development opportunities and other benefits that would flow from the research’.

The new team’s purview appeared almost identical to water management responsibilities already tasked to the Rous County Council, which includes two members of the Ballina Shire Council, Cr Keith Williams being the Rous County Council Chair.

But Cr Cadwallader has repeatedly voiced dissatisfaction with the Rous decision to abandon investigations into the option of building a new hinterland dam in Dunoon.

The 2021 mayoral candidate has long stated her pro-dam position as part of her election campaign and her latest attempt to revive the project was to have a new, independent team consider it.

In September, Cr Cadwallader expanded on her failed August motion by proposing ‘that Council seeks ministerial support for completion of detailed cultural heritage and biodiversity assessments associated with the proposed Dunoon Dam, in consultation with relevant Traditional Custodians, prior to finalisation of the Regional Water Strategy’.

Traditional custodians have spoken against the dam but Cr Cadwallader has repeatedly complained that a cultural heritage assessment report was never finished.

Mayor casts vote in support of status quo

This time, as predicted last week in The Echo, the independent councillor managed to win enough support to require a casting vote from the mayor.

Cr Nathan Willis was absent from the August meeting and in September proved to be an extra voice in support of Cr Cadwallader’s motion.

But the other votes didn’t fall quite as speculated.

Rather than follow the example of Cr McCarthy as he did when it came to an affordable housing project on Ballina Island, the younger independent Cr Ben Smith again voted against a new water science team.

The mayor is known to have changed his mind on significant proposals before, including on the same housing project, but this month stuck to his initial vote against Cr Cadwallader’s proposal.

Instead, it was independent Cr Phillip Meehan who changed his vote in support of the expanded motion.

Ballina Council refuses to sell Marom Creek infrastructure to Rous

With all ten councillors present at the September meeting, Cr Meehan’s swing meant the vote resulted in a five-five tie.

The mayor used his casting vote to support the status quo of a region guided by the Rous County Council when it comes to water security.

But the council also voted at the same meeting not to sell its Marom Creek water supply infrastructure to the Rous County Council as requested.

The council instead voted in support of Cr Cadwallader’s proposal to have the general manager negotiate supplying Rous with surface water from the plant.

Crs Williams and Jeff Johnson were the only two to vote against Cr Cadwallader’s Marom Creek plant motion.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


    • Dear Rod,
      All politics are a scam, haven’t you been paying attention ? The very last thing that any of them want is independent oversight.
      I, for one, see this as further evidence that some thing VERY funny is afoot as regards to the Dunoon Dam, that has been in the planning for at least forty years, and has now become an untouchable ‘hot potato’. I suppose that it is as likely that we will find the truth of this , or as to why Australia has sacrificed Julian Asange ( the last truth teller since Gough was nobbled for threatening to tell what the Americans were up to at Pine Gap ).
      But….the truth is out there, somewhere. G”)

  1. Someone needs to explain what is wrong with having a science team.

    It could be useful to working out the various carbon footprints of the various water supply options proposed, but I guess the greens don’t care about carbon footprints. Sadly

    • Actually the science team exists already at Rous water and if you read the article you will see that. Have you mixed up NATs for greens( whom I wouldn’t vote for) about carbon footprints? The problem was people politicking the issue to promote themselves, like Austin and his water group whose main aim is to protect the over extracting of water on the plateau by current uses and spreading furphies about water recycling.

      • Rod, neither the nats or the greens have showed any interest in looking into the carbon footprints of the various options, that I have seen.

        But, funnily enough, it is the greens that I see as having failed in this regard, since they are the ones repeating the mantra that we should “take strong action on climate change”

    • As the article states “…The new team’s purview appeared almost identical to water management responsibilities already tasked to the Rous County Council…” Rous County Council has investigated water security in the region using it’s own expertise and via commissioned studies in the past. It is time that Councillor Cadwallader conceded on this issue.
      For further insight into how petty politics at council level costs us all, read today’s article on Ballina Council refusing to sell the Marom Creek Water treatment plant to Rous County Council https://www.echo.net.au/2021/09/ballina-council-decision-not-to-sell-marom-creek-water-treatment-plant-to-cost-north-coast-households/#comment-3049652

  2. The science is in, dams on narrow catchments wont provide water security as they run dry (remember the drought in the early 2000’s where inland towns ran out of water and had evacuation plans in place to move out the entire populations). Sydney water has come to the same conclusions as ROUS – moving to enhance Dam supplies by other sources such as storm and recycled water, permanently running their desal plant and building more desal plants. 40 year old ideas of a new dam dont fit the new paradigm of changed rain/drought patterns from climate change. Carbon footprint? There is a massive carbon footprint from the massive amount of concrete for a dam, which would also be associated with a huge loss of carbon draw down annually and ongoing ,by drowning the forest in the proposed dams catchments footprint. Ballina Shires failure to allow ROUS to take over the Marom infrastructure, to redevelop the water supply from the higher aquifers to the lower aquifer is likely to see the higher aquifers drained with subsequent loos of water for the farmers who also access the higher aquifer, and likely to see the higher aquifer providing a decreasing amount of water. Cadwallader is cynically undermining our best way forward to create a political stoush that she hopes to manipulate for her reelection. Julian Asange would shoot her down in flames.

    • John don’t pontificate on things you obviously don’t understand !
      The science says nothing about the benefits of building dams in areas where precipitation is as extreme and dependable as this location .
      Guess what John, this isn’t an inland ,semi-desert inland town.
      Sydney couldn’t expand their water-storage because their massive overpopulation and mining pollution has precluded such rational and cheap alternatives, forcing the horrendously expensive and environmentally unsustainable options that you advocate. The carbon foot-print of permanent desalination of sea water is obviously only a last ditch effort to prop up a failure of government to provide the kind of infrastructure that the Dunoon Dam is a valuable example.
      You should visit the site and see the couple of dozen trees that you call a forest, most of the site is weed infested run-down beef cattle terrain.
      Your denigration of the councillor may well be deserved, I don’t know and frankly I don’t care, as all politics are generally corrupt ,self-serving and manipulative, that’s a given, but your strident advocacy of ignoring the opportunity available indicates to me, manipulation has been employed on both sides of the argument.
      Cheers, G”)

      • Ken in the early 2000’s all of ROUS customers went into extreme water restrictions from that extended drought, and we can only expect longer, hotter and more extreme periods of droughts. The dam on the one narrow catchment didnt provide a secure water supply for the early 2000s population and two dams on the same catchment wont provide water security for our increasing population. There is no carbon footprint for a desal plant run on green energy (which is where all our electricity supply is, and needs to, go. Sydney Waters Desal plant running, for the 12 months up to March 2021, cost the average household $8.67 a year.

  3. Yet again Cr Cadwallader refuses to even mention the existence of the Widjabul Wia-bal people. Now that the redacted Cultural Heritage Impact Assessment is available on the Rous website it is time that she stopped complaining that “a cultural heritage assessment report was never finished”.

    The report spells out that more investigation could reveal more evidence but it is in no doubt that the existing evidence is irrefutable. In particular, the burial mounds makes the site hugely important for the Traditional Custodians and also for future archeological research.

    An apology to the Widjabul Wia-bal people would be the right thing to do.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Mandatory vax

I write to you in response to the article on the front page of The Echo relating to mandatory vax. I find it extremely...

End the cult

A military conflict between China and the USA would very likely result in global nuclear war, a major setback to human civilisation and possibly...

Hundreds queue to have COVID test and two new cases in the NNSWLHD

Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSWLHD) is urging people to continue coming forward for testing and vaccination after two further COVID-19 cases were reported in the 24 hours to 8pm last night, October 14. 

Charges after cars damaged in police pursuit – Coffs Harbour

Police say a man has been charged following a pursuit, where a number of cars – including an unmarked police car – were sideswiped on the Mid-North Coast yesterday.