Candidates consider dam future

Phil Youngblutt
Phil Youngblutt

SECURING the Tweed's water supply is one issue councillors will face if elected next Saturday.

The decision of whether to raise the Clarrie Hall Dam or construct another dam at Byrrill Creek has reached an impasse in Tweed Shire Council in the past 12 months and it has also split candidates vying for the next four-year term.

Fernvale candidate Phil Youngblutt wants the new dam built to increase the catchment area and reduce the flood risk to the valley.

"I think Byrrill Creek should be given priority," Cr Youngblutt said. It would reduce some of the flooding levels in the Tweed Valley, he said.

Candidate Jayne Henry said flood mitigation was an issue that needed to be considered.

"No-one is talking about the economic impacts of flooding in our region. Will another dam help reduce future flooding?," Ms Henry said.

John Zahn, Kaye Sharples second candidate, said the financial impact was paramount.

"We are all for just stopping capital works at the moment until we see how the financial situation is going to be worldwide," Mr Zahn said.

Uki candidate Eddie Roberts said there needed to be more work done on "demand management" before a decision could be made.

"We need to work to reduce our water usage," he said.

Dot Holdom said financially the raising of Clarrie Hall Dam made sense.

"Big new dam equals big new rates," Cr Holdom said.

"Anyone talking about keeping rates low and advocating for a big new dam in the same breath is having us all on."

Carolyn Byrne said a decision was necessary or it would be taken out of the council's hands "by state or federal authorities".

Labor candidate Michael Armstrong and Mayor Barry Longland were both opposed to the construction of the dam.

"Tweed Labor is committed to ensuring our water security and supports a water management strategy which could include raising the dam wall at the existing Clarrie Hall dam," Mr Armstrong said.

"The case for the raising of the wall of the Clarrie Hall Dam to secure the Tweed's water supply for the next 20 years is well proven," Cr Longland said.

Cr Katie Milne said she had made an effort to get a rethink on water.

"Developers are getting a free ride as all of the other current councillors over this last four-year term have blocked my attempts for modern water management in our new major developments...," she said.

Candidate Bruce Campbell said the decision lay with the State Government.

Gary Bagnall said he was waiting to see the papers on the dam issue. Warren Polglase was unavailable for comment.

Topics:  byrrill creek dam candidates clarrie hall dam dam election tweed shire council water

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