A 3D version of what a possible Dunoon Dam would look like is available from the Rous County Council website.
A 3D version of what a possible Dunoon Dam would look like is available from the Rous County Council website.

Dunoon Dam debate will spill into Ballina Council

A DEBATE about the merits of a proposed Dunoon Dam will be held at Ballina Shire Council during their December meeting.

Although a possible dam in Dunoon would normally be an issue for Lismore City Council, the issue became a Ballina topic at Thursday’s meeting.

The issue arose during the debate of a motion presented by Cr Sharon Cadwallader about a management strategy for potable water leaking from pipes that was carried unanimously.

Ballina Crs Keith Williams and Cadwallader are chair and deputy chair of Rous County Council, respectively.

Cr Jeff Johnson said he believed “the Dunoon Dam project would be an expensive waste of money.”

“What is being proposed is just to cater for an increase in population and the cost would be one of the most expensive options on the table.”

Cr Williams said the idea of multi-year droughts meant that all options need to be discussed in regards to securing the future of access to water for our communities.

“We do need all options on the table, we do need to be looking at how we can save every drop,” he said.

“I accept that there are significant environmental issues the Dunoon Dam site, and they do need to be resolved, we can’t walk away from that, but to suggest we are going to be able to ensure our supply of water with what is coming in future decades, we need to be upfront and not just pretend that we can just do it with conservation.”

The catchment and buffer zones of a Proposed Dunoon Dam as they will be discussed by Rous County Council.
The catchment and buffer zones of a Proposed Dunoon Dam as they will be discussed by Rous County Council.

Cr Cadwallader said she was dismayed that the discussion about her motion had been turned into a discussion about the dam.

Cr Johnson foreshadowed a motion for council to write to Rous to be discussed in today’s meeting.

“That council write to Rous County Council, asking them to put a pause to any additional expenditure on a Dunoon Dam project, and to ask them to invite a range of water experts to our region, from the private sector, government and universities, to hold public meetings and workshops to outline alternative options to secure our long-term water supply,” he said.

Mayor David Wright did not accept the motion.

“However, I’d be very happy, and I have spoken to the general manager, that this be included as a notice of motion at the December meeting.”

Ballina Shire Council will meet again on December 17.

Rous County Council will meet to discuss the Dunoon Dam and the rest of the Future Water Project 2060 Integrated Water Cycle Management Plan at their meeting on December 16.

NO DAM: Water Northern Rivers alliance presented hundreds of submissions objecting to the Dunoon dam to Rous County Council on September 8, 2020. Photo: Alison Paterson
NO DAM: Water Northern Rivers alliance presented hundreds of submissions objecting to the Dunoon dam to Rous County Council on September 8, 2020. Photo: Alison Paterson

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