Council changes LEP to stop commercial water extraction
TWEED Shire Council will ban further commercial water extraction within the region as it moves to amend the 2014 Tweed Local Environment Plan.
During Thursday's planning meeting, the council voted 4-3 in favour of prohibiting any future water extraction and bottling but will seek legal advice about the 12 current development applications for commercial water extraction and bottling operations.
There are 10 DAs that have been approved and two that are undetermined.
Acting planning director Iain Lonsdale said the council would have to consider the possible legal implications of not including a savings clause into the LEP to ensure those current and future businesses aren't financially impacted by the ban.
"We do have some large water businesses, like Mount Warning Waters, where they have multiple allotments in their business and could intend to expand,” Mr Lonsdale said.
While councillors James Owen, Warren Polglase and Pryce Allsop tried to defer the decision to ensure the legal advice about the savings clause was completed ahead of the changes, Mayor Katie Milne said the issue had gone on long enough.
"Time is of the essence here,” Cr Milne said.
"We've had a rush of applications over the years and we've got a number of DAs as we speak.
"It's about protecting our water supply and the community that's affected by that supply.
"We have a duty to uphold and protect those water sources. It's of huge significance to this shire. We really do need to protect it.”
Before the final vote, Cr Milne included in her amendment a council workshop be held to ensure councillors understand the legal advice given about the savings clause.
Meanwhile, a WaterNSW spokesperson confirmed commercial water extraction is continually monitored.
"Groundwater use is monitored by government water authorities to ensure demand does not place unsustainable pressure on available groundwater resources,” the spokesperson said.
"WaterNSW administers thousands of water access entitlements and licences on behalf of the NSW Government, including water taken from rivers and groundwater sources across the state.”