Councillor asks people to show support for Dunoon Dam
The deputy chair of Rous County Council has made a plea to Northern Rivers residents to voice their support for the Dunoon Dam.
Ballina Shire councillor Sharon Cadwallader made the request via social media, asking people to email Rous County Council and show support for the project.
Cr Cadwallader is one of three Rous councillors who have tabled a rescission motion to bring the dam back into the Future Water Plan 2060.
"Please help me to help you by emailing the General Manager at email@example.com ASAP as the rescission motion will be debated on February 17," she said.
"Please share this as far and wide as you can so that a clear message is sent to the dissenting councillors that you do not agree with their decision."
Community consultation was already undertaken by Rous on this matter last year, and it was extended by Rous to allow people to participate despite of the pandemic.
Around 1,300 submissions were received, and it was overwhelmingly opposed to the dam.
Last December, five out of eight Rous councillors voted in a motion submitted by Lismore mayor Vanessa Ekins to remove the dam from the plan, citing environmental and cultural reasons.
The motion was supported by Byron Shire mayor Simon Richardson and councillors Basil Cameron (Byron), Darlene Cook (Lismore) and Rous chairperson Keith Williams (Ballina)
Richmond Valley Council's Sandra Humphrys and mayor Robert Mustow voted against it and support the rescission motion.
At the last Ballina Shire Council meeting, where the topic was debated, Cr Cadwallader criticised Cr Williams, for voting against the dam, calling it "a political vote".
If the rescission motion is not passed, Rous will sell of the land it has acquired for more than two decades for the project.
Cr Cadwallader said this would leave the communities and visitors of Ballina, Byron, Lismore and Richmond Valley Local Government areas with no secure confirmed water source available to them.
"If it stopped raining today, there is only enough water in Rocky Creek Dam to supply the region for one year. By 2024, our communities will be living with water restrictions," she said.
"The suggestion of plundering the Alstonville Aquifer or building a billion dollar desalination plant at Tyagarah that pumps from the Cape Byron Marine Park or toilet to tap solutions (recycled sewerage) that will cost an additional $600M over the whole of life project is unnecessary compared with an estimated $220M dam. These alternatives come at an eye watering cost."
"With so many data gaps and incomplete studies, how can an informed decision be possibly made as to the viability of the proposed dam? To ignore the technical advice defies logic."