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Dam delay bid causes council row

Tweed mayor Barry Longland has come under fire.
Tweed mayor Barry Longland has come under fire. John Gass

THE Tweed Shire mayor came under fire from fellow councillors after attempting to reignite the Clarrie Hall Dam project at the council meeting on Tuesday after a fellow councillor excluded herself from the chamber.

Mayor Barry Longland sought to amend a motion from Councillor Dot Holdom who wanted a 20-year moratorium on any dam proposal for Byrrill Creek Dam.

He wanted to include in the motion that the council adopt the raising of the Clarrie Hall Dam as the preferred option to secure the shire's water supply.

The mayor's amendment came after Cr Joan van Lieshout excluded herself from the chamber because of a "perceived" conflict in the Byrrill Creek Dam.

"I don't believe I had a conflict of interest but because of the perceived conflict from the community I will not be involved in the vote or discussion," Cr van Lieshout said earlier in the meeting.

Cr van Lieshout had previously voted against the rising of the Clarrie Hall Dam.

Cr Kevin Skinner was shocked at the mayor's decision.

"You are excluding her from the opportunity to vote," Cr Skinner said.

"This is wrong."

Cr Warren Polglase was more measured in his response but was just as scathing on the mayor's decision.

"What you have done here was that you combined the two and it looks bad to the community," he said.

"This proposal if it is successful is a 14-week wonder (referring to the election in September).

"This will create conflict in the community from tomorrow."

Cr Longland defended his amendment.

"There is one issue the augmentation of the Tweed's water supply," he said.

"When you say you have a conflict of interest in one of them then by definition you have a conflict in the other."

Ultimately the mayor's amendment failed without the support of Councillor Katie Milne and the initial 20-year moratorium on the Byrrill Creek Dam was successful.

Topics:  byrrill creek dam, tweed shire council



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