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Byron Shire
July 5, 2022

Dredging resurfaces for Tweed Council

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Dredging of Shaws Bay is continuing. Photo David Lowe.TWeed Head

Following the February and March floods the question of whether dredging the rivers of Tweed Shire will reduce a flood’s impact has once again been raised.

Dredging can be used for deepening a river channel, for flooding relief and for extracting materials such as sand for building etc. Councillor Warren Polglase (Conservative) pointed out during the discussion that this had been done in the past.

The alternate motion to investigate dredging was put forward by Liberal Councillors James Owen and Rhiannon Brinsmead.

Councillor Owen was initially seeking to have an evidence-based, independent report written to ‘understand whether it [river dredging] would assist’ in relation to flood mitigation. 

He recognised there would be significant costs associated with paying for an independent report and that council staff have said that dredging will not help with flood mitigation. However, he said that an independent report would provide a definitive answer to the question one way or another. 

Councillor Dr Nola Firth (Greens) said ‘I’d like to support Cr Byrnes’ (Labor) comment about respecting the science. I believe that the science is saying that dredging can cause worse erosion and unexpected events downstream.’

Mayor Chris Cherry (Independent) spoke in favour of seeking the report saying, ‘I think the community has been calling for an investigation into dredging’. 

Councillor Cherry noted that the Tweed Council staff were currently flat out and suggested that they approach the CSIRO for the modelling. 

‘This way our community gets the benefit of this modelling without having to pay for it.’

‘The community are looking for an answer,’ said Independent Councillor Meredith Dennis. 

‘It will tell us whether the dredging does or doesn’t work. With an independent report then it is done and dusted and it is out there.’ 

After some working the final motion sought to approach both the Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation and the CSIRO and request ’that flood modelling be undertaken to show the benefits or otherwise of dredging of rivers, creeks and drains as a flood mitigation option with a focus on: Past and current dredging regimes; Previous studies; Benefits; Indicative costs; Environmental impacts; and  Approvals pathways.’

All councillors voted in favour. 

If neither the Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation or the CSIRO are willing to undertake the modelling then the council will reconsider their position.

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  1. While we have our Liberal National councillors attention! The Tweed bar as usual is a tragedy waiting to happen, how about you Liberal, “National Independent conservative in name only” councillors get your Sydney Liberal buddies to do their job and dredge the Tweed bar river mouth before someone dies again? There’s a NSW State election in a few months, at least try and make it look like you do something, apart from sell public schools in Murwillumbah to developers?


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