The community group WATER Northern Rivers Alliance has warned the incoming Rous councillors* to evaluate the facts, as the previous councillors did, rather than rely solely on public opinion gathered in a push-poll: ‘Do you want to drink poo water or do you want a new dam?’
Hugh Nicholson of WATER Northern Rivers says when the newly appointed members of Rous County Council first meet on February 16, they will be on a steep learning curve.
‘The vote in December 2020 by Rous councillors to move ahead with a variety of water sources, without the Dunoon Dam, came after the councillors were alerted to information which had been withheld by Rous CC management,’ he said.
Cultural Heritage Impact Assessment
Mr Nicholson says that evidence from eminent archaeologist, Dr Douglas Hobbs, in the Cultural Heritage Impact Assessment 2013, had not been shown to the councillors. ‘When they became aware of the national significance of the area to be destroyed by the proposed Dunoon Dam, it was a vote changer.’
In a comment to pro-dammers, the previous Chair of Rous CC, Keith Williams, said they need to consider the 436 pages of a highly qualified archaeologist’s detailed study like he did. ‘It’s now publicly available on the Rous website in a de-identified form following negotiations I undertook with the Traditional Custodians,’ said Mr Williams.
Mr Nicholson told The Echo that more than 25 pre-European burial mounds would be drowned under many metres of water. ‘Would those pushing the dam be so cavalier if it was their community’s cemetery being destroyed so tourists on the coast can have a 20-minute shower?
The importance of multiple water sources
‘Meanwhile, policy decisions from the State Government are emphasizing the importance of choosing multiple water sources, as a safer option in the face of climate change, than a single large dam,’ he said.
‘This policy also affected the Rous councillors in their decision in December 2020. We have to hope the incoming Rous councillors will read the evidence and listen to the facts before making any decision which will affect our future water security,’ said Mr Nicholson.
A copy of the Ainsworth Heritage Preliminary Cultural Heritage Impact Assessment May 2013 can be found on the Rous County Council website.
* Byron Shire Council is yet to elect Rous County Council representatives.
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