Tyalgum village fears a flooded future
By PETER CATON
JIM Warburton fears the Tweed hinterland village of Tyalgum would be wiped off the map by Federal Government plans to dam the Oxley River. According to Mr Warburton, secretary of the Caldera Environment Centre, a study by local conservationists shows Tyalgum and nearby districts such as Limpinwood and Pumpenbil would be flooded by a likely 30-metre high dam wall. The Oxley River would cease to be a flowing waterway and scores of rural properties including tourist retreats would be left inaccessible. Alarmed environmentalists have called an emergency public meeting at the Tyalgum Hall from 7.30pm tonight to condemn the plan. Mr Warburton said a study of contour maps had revealed the huge area which would be inundated by a dam at Rocky Cutting on the Oxley River between Murwillumbah and Tyalgum. The dam was proposed in a report released two weeks ago by Federal Environment and Water Resources MINISTER Malcolm Turnbull which recommended pumping water from the NSW North Coast to drought-ravaged south east Queensland. Water from the Rocky Cutting dam would be piped over the nearby McPherson range into the Nerang River. Mr Warburton said conservationists feared the option would be preferred over other proposals to dam upper reaches of the Clarence River because "it's bigger and cheaper". He said the Rocky Cutting dam would hold between 25,000 and 45,000 megalitres depending on the height of the dam wall. That was far more than the likely 15,000 megalitre that would be held by a dam at Byrill Creek, west of Mount Warning, where Tweed Shire Council bought necessary land in the 1990s. Mr Warburton said conservationists feared not only the loss of Tyalgum and surrounding properties but the death of the Oxley River ? named after famed explorer John Oxley whose discoveries included the site of Brisbane. "The dam will kill the Oxley River. "It reduces environmental flow below the dam and floods everything above it," he said. "The Oxley is in stress now because it is low. "The river has algae growth in it and people may have to stop pumping out of it." Mr Warburton said the mapping revealed a 30 metre high dam wall required for sufficient storage would result in the inundation of Tyalgum. Even a 20-metre high wall he said would leave water lapping the edge of the village.