Pollies refuse to dip their toe into Dunoon dam debate

FEDERAL AND STATE MPs have refused to wade into the Dunoon Dam debate, insisting the matter should be left to the review process being undertaken by Rous County Council.

Lismore MP Janelle Saffin toured the potential dam area with former politician Bob Carr over the weekend.

“As we know Bob is a keen environmentalist and wanted to hear from the local community about the site and where it would be,” Ms Saffin said.

“My attitude is that Rous County Council has to show what’s needed and at this stage all the options for water security haven’t been visited such as purified recycled water.

“I would support having water security, I’d look at all options, I wanted everyone to engage but they haven’t persuaded me that the Dunoon Dam is the option yet … I want them to demonstrate that they’ve done everything they can for water efficiency and that hasn’t been done.”

Page MP Kevin Hogan said he was prepared to wait until Rous County Council came to him with a formal position on what they want to do.

“I think it’s too early, I don’t have a position on it, they’re (Rous County Council) still very early on in their own research on it, they’ve gone out to community consultation and as I understand it that community consultation is still coming back,” he said.

“I’ll be happy to talk to them when they’ve come to a firm position and after they’ve finished their community consultation.”

Mr Hogan said that very few constituents from his electorate had been in touch with him regarding the controversial matter.

“It’s not, if you’re going to say a hot issue, the dam isn’t at the moment, I think the community realise at the moment that there’s no firm position or proposal.”

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Can water tanks prevent the need for a dam at Dunoon?

CAN installing water tanks in most households be an alternative or a complementary measure to a proposed Dunoon dam? Rous decided to investigate it.

Byron Shire Mayor Simon Richardson raised a motion at the latest Rous County Council meeting to address the issue of water storage in the area.

Although the motion was not passed, it was agreed by councillors to attend a workshop this month and then vote on the issue in their December meeting.

Rain water overflows into a tank.

Mayor Richardson, who was one of the councillors representing Byron Shire at Rous County Council, said the topic needs further debate before a decision on a possible dam was taken.

“The motion was trying to get all the facts, evidence and comparative data in front of the wider community — and the board of Rous — before we start to show any preference to what future-proofing program we go with,” he said.

“It was basically to seek reports on the cost and viability of what it may look like for water tanks, demand management and recycled purified water to drink.

“Let’s get all this evidence on the table so we can all look into this rationally and reasonably and then we can truly cost things next to each other.”

Read more >> Will every new house have a 10,000L water tank?

Cr Richardson said the data was needed to dispel myth and factual errors about what was possible in the area.

“Every household can’t have a rainwater tank for various reasons, but this is what the report should like at: what would a tank in every household would look like, at what cost, how big they could be what impact it could have on the need for another dam, who would pay for it and what are the implications, and what would be the regulations,” he said.

“It’s very easy to say ‘why don’t we all have a water tank’ but Rous hasn’t answered that question clearly enough.

VISION: Mayor Simon Richardson.

VISION: Mayor Simon Richardson.

Mayor Richardson, a Greens councillor, was ‘agnostic’ on whether a dam in Dunoon, water tanks, or other mix of options would secure the future of water supply in the area.

“I know what my values system would prefer, and what my ideology would prefer, and what I think best practice is, and it’s not necessarily a dam. But I don’t want to make a decision (based on) my ideology, my gut feeling or my heart, I want up-to-date, evidence-based decision making,” he said.

Rous County Council will debate the motion again in its December meeting.

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