Byrrill Creek dam outcry rises
OPPONENTS of a proposed huge new dam at Byrrill Creek west of Mt Warning have lodged more than 2000 signatures with Tweed Shire Council calling for an independent university review of the controversial plan.
Anti-dam spokeswoman Andrea Vickers presented the petition to Tweed Mayor Kevin Skinner during Thursday's council community access session.
She warned a perception had been created that the Council was “not taking the wishes of the community into account.”
The petition calls on councillors to abide by their own staff advice that Byrrill Creek dam should be the very last option due to its high biodiversity and conservation status.
It urges them to arrange “an independent review by an appropriate university” and adopt new rules that would require “all new greenfield developments” to have dual reticulation, involving recycled water for toilets and gardens, stormwater harvesting and an average 10,000-litre rain-water tank for each house.
As well it calls for a debate on future population levels for the Tweed region.
Ms Vickers said the 2000 signatures had been gathered since the Council decision to dam Byrrill Creek at its October meeting.
“A further 5000 signatures have been gathered on a parliamentary petition opposing a dam at Byrrill Creek, and have been tabled in State Parliament,” she said.
“These 7000 signatures, and the high rate of willingness to sign, are evidence of the deep concerns held by citizens of Tweed Shire on this issue – concerns about the risk, the waste of money, and the delay ... the decision will create.”
She said the issue of cost was of particular concern to ratepayers because $3.6 million had been committed to initial planning procedures including $2 million for pre-approval licences, $1 million for an environmental impact statement and $400,000 for a concept plan.
“The reality is biting into the hip pockets of ratepayers now,” Ms Vickers said. “This money will have to be spent all over again if the dam is not approved, as is widely agreed to be the likely outcome.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg of the projected total cost of $67 million, which is likely to rise sharply over time before the dam is built.
“This contrasts with the $36.5 million estimate for raising the Clarrie Hall dam, and with significant economies that can be achieved by implementing water-saving measures rather than embarking on massive new public engineering projects.”