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Byron Shire
August 15, 2022

Rule by populist backwoods hicks

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With the new Rous County Council (RCC) being made up of 6:2 pro-dam councillors there is now a demand for RCC to shelve the current Integrated Water Cycle Management Strategy (IWCM) and put the Dunoon Dam (DD) back on the table.

Much has been made of the 10,000 signatures on a petition, which insisted that the DD be reinstated. Some pro-dam councillors have said that they can’t ignore these people. They apparently believe that the 10,000 people (6.6 per cent of the population) should determine water policy for RCC.

But, these same people emphatically ruled out groundwater, recycled water, and desal plants as permanent water sources. Some of these measures are already being used by RCC – and have been for many years.

Does ‘rule by the 10,000’ mean that RCC should immediately pull out the new deep bore that has recently been drilled into the Clarence-Moreton Basin?

Should RCC immediately stop pumping water from the Wilson River (into which Bangalow releases its treated sewage) up to the Nightcap Treatment Plant?

Should RCC be ruled by populist demand? If Rous councillors dictate that RCC should bow to the 10,000 and go with the only option they agree with (the new dam), then it will have to abandon all the other water management options that it has spent the last year developing and implementing.

Rous County Council would be become unworkable. How embarrassing for all of us. Our Northern Rivers community will look like a bunch of backwoods hicks who are stuck in the past and can’t read a scientific report or a cultural heritage impact assessment.

Nan Nicholson, The Channon

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  1. I wonder what’s in the dam water already that makes some people come up over and over again with the same, tired, hare-brained solutions? If we only spent 10% of the time spent on arguing, court action, defamation, media campaigns, self-aggrandising posturing etc. on actually getting things done after ONE round of qualified discussion among all relevant stake holders, we’d actually get things done!

  2. Talk about due process not being followed and using 10,000 signatures to put this Dunoon Dam back on the agenda.

    How were those signatures gained ? Was it through misinformation and unreliable claims similar to those made at Alstonville stall by councillor C followers in 2021?
    Other misinformation in 2022 I understand has included false claims of no indigenous issues!!

    These questionable strategies are critical process issues to be considered well before putting the dam back on the agenda.
    A workshop to nut out these issues before putting the issue back on the agenda was the sensible way forward. Thank you Sarah N

    This Rous water committee as a forum to address these serious and complex public interest concerns for our region seems inadequate, pro developers, public wastage & is a huge public interest concern for our region.

    • Actually, to get any large group of people to all agree on something requires any leader, even good intentioned one, to spin an emotionally compelling story, that’s at minimum a distortion to simplify the issue at hand.
      Other wise a group of 20 people end up with 4 ideas that each have 5 followers and nothing gets done.
      That’s just the human condition.

  3. Why bother making a submission to Rous Water? Particularly don’t bother getting informed about the Water Plan. Simply find a horror story that might resonate and push poll flat out to get your petition signed and bingo.

  4. Nan,
    You are not populist and think populist culture is ‘so divine” and live with Vegemite on toast, the Rotary Clothes Hoist and McDonalds and fries with that and other objects such as dams should be the norm. When the people selected the 6 majority in Rouse County Council you can see they are only average as they go to water and think of dams.

  5. Never mind a ‘spin story’. Liars are found under glossy glass tables &
    genuine people cope quite well eying off oppositions grandstanding.
    This is not fisty-cuff middle-weights.


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