On the nose
By PETER CATON
BERNIE Quinn reckons it stinks.
For the past three years, homeowners and businesses in the twin villages of Mooball and Burringbar, south of Murwillumbah, have been paying $350 a year for a sewerage system that does not exist.
And now they have been sent council rate notices seeking a fourth instalment.
"Its pretty sad," said Mr Quinn, who chairs the Mooball Moovers Progress Association. "If people have done the right thing and started paying their side of it, the council and the state government should come to the party.''
Among those affected are volunteer firefighters like Lex Philip, who runs the local garage opposite the fire shed in Burringbar's main street.
Yesterday he said the firies had been waiting for sewerage to put in a toilet.
"We desperately need the sewerage," he said. "Now it looks like we will have the extra expense of putting in a septic toilet.
"If we are not going to get the sewerage they should give us our money back.''
Adding to residents' concerns is the fact a $23,000 fee, on top of the $350 annual charge for 10 years, has been floated by Tweed Shire Council as one option to pay for the long-awaited sewerage scheme.
However council staff this week told the shire administrators "the future of the scheme is in doubt".
In the meantime, old, clogged septic systems in Mooball and Burringbar continue to leak foul water into local creeks.
Stuart Cahill, secretary of the Burringbar Public Recreation Reserve Trust which looks after a local sportsfield, says even septics from a council-created subdivision and a council toilet block are polluting a nearby creek.
Mr Cahill, the village real estate agent, said part of the grounds had been offered as a site for treatment works, but both the council and the state government were "ducking and weaving" from contributing towards sewerage.
"There's a massive environmental problem," he added. "A lot of people are angry about the fact they are putting in expensive new septic systems and may have to spend $23,000 in a few years to put sewerage on."
The council is blaming the NSW government for scrapping a special subsidy last year.
The administrators this week decided to continue to seek both federal and state government funds for the sewerage works, and put off a final decision on the future of the scheme to next year.