State Govt bans Byrrill Creek dam
THE NSW Government has moved to ban construction of the controversial Byrrill Creek dam, but Tweed Mayor Kevin Skinner says he is not giving up on the plan just yet.
Conservationists along with Byrrill Creek residents celebrated over the weekend after NSW Water Minister Phil Costa announced a final State Government “water sharing plan” for the Tweed would “not permit the construction of a new in-river dam on Byrrill Creek”.
In a letter to Save Byrrill Creek campaign spokeswoman Joanne Gardner, Mr Costa added:
“This decision has been based on the high environment and world heritage values of the Byrrill Creek area and the availability of other water supply options for Tweed Shire”.
Yesterday however Cr Skinner, who has twice used his casting vote to push ahead with the controversial dam plan to secure future water supplies for a rapidly growing population, said Mr Costa's decision was “a disappointment”.
But he added the possibility exists that the decision could be over-ruled by another government department.
Cr Skinner said he would be seeking further advice on that possibility this morning from council general manager Mike Rayner.
“If that's the end of it, that's all there is to it,” Cr Skinner said.
“We would pull the pin and we wouldn't go any further.”
“But this might be only one department.”
Ms Gardner warned it would be “political suicide” for the council to push ahead with the proposed Byrrill Creek dam, adding it was “quite clear the government is against it”.
She said if the council decided to do so, other government departments would in any case keep referring back to Minister Costa's decision.
But she added: “Even with Minister Costa's letter we know the journey has not reached a conclusion.
“We don't know how the council is going to respond to the minister's letter.
“It's been a year-long process of educating the decision-makers and the community about why dams are not the answer, and about the environmental values of Byrrill Creek.
“Minister Costa cited those values in his letter to me when he stated his reasons for maintaining the prohibition on damming Byrrill Creek.”
She said organisers had collected 7000 petition signatures against the dam “in just a few weeks”.
“People power has made a difference,” she added.
Mr Costa's decision turned a planned Saturday launch of a “byrillcreek.com” website which contains masses of information about the issue into a sudden celebration.