No change to water times but hope for the elderly

By YVONNE McLEAN

WATERING the garden in the dark or in the cool of early morning will stay on the Gold Coast at least in the foreseeable future.

This week the Gold Coast City Council voted to maintain its commitment to be part of South East Queensland Water, an authority comprising 13 councils including Brisbane.

Hand hosing remains from 7pm until midnight and from midnight to 7am on the odds and evens house numbers system.

Council's water sustainability committee chairperson Cr Daphne McDonald said water usage was now under the umbrella of the one authority and stepping away going it alone - in watering hours would be a negative and non-productive attitude.

However a number of councillors were very sour at having to conform.

In response to a large number of complaints about difficulties experienced by the elderly and disabled who find watering their gardens in the dark or very early difficult, Mayor Ron Clarke sought approval from his mayoral colleagues for a change back to the 4pm time slot but received little if any support.

However there could be light at the end of the tunnel for the elderly. Cr Christine Robbins called for special watering permits to be extended to elderly and disabled people which would enable them to hand hose gardens during the daylight without the fear of tripping or falling over or being nipped by mossies or midges.

"I think the council should display some compassion over this issue because being forced to tend their precious plants in the dark causes a lot of distress," she said.

"Special permits to water say at 5pm for approved residents should be quite possible for council to implement given our vast resources."

Mayor Clarke agreed but Gold Coast Water director Shaun Cox said a permit system would be immensely hard to police. Eligible people would be dobbed in for watering out of hours and lots of abuse could follow.

However Mr Cox said his staff would undertake a feasibility report on an exemption scheme as a matter of urgency, with the resulting report expected to be tabled to Gold Coast City Council within weeks.



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