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Council delays water extraction DA over traffic report

DIGGING IN: Protesters gather outside Tweed Shire Council on Thursday opposing a development application  to commercially extract water from a Uki property.
DIGGING IN: Protesters gather outside Tweed Shire Council on Thursday opposing a development application to commercially extract water from a Uki property. Aisling Brennan

DISCREPANCIES found in a traffic report have forced Tweed Shire Council to defer its decision about a commercial water extraction development application at Rowlands Creek, near Uki.

Local resident Trevor White before Thursday's meeting alerted councillors to his concerns about a "misleading” council traffic report in relation to the DA, which proposes to extract up to 24 megalitres of water in any 12-month period.

While the report stated Rowlands Creek Rd was 5.6m wide and would be able to accommodate water trucks safely, Mr White said his measurements at some parts of the road were found to be 5.2m wide.

"That's the part that every time I drive along there, if there's a car coming the other way you just have to get off onto the shoulder, and in some places there isn't much of a shoulder,” MrWhite said.

"The diagrams in the report suggest they need 5.64m for two trucks to pass with a reasonable spacing in between them.”

Eleven-year-old Audrey O'Donnell-Parr also voiced her concerns to the council about the safety issues of having large water trucks on a road where it might be impossible for someone to pull over.

Audrey O'Donnell-Parr, 11, and Greg O'Donnell  outside Tweed Shire Council before Audrey spoke to councillors about her concerns for the safety of her friends on Rowlands Creek Rd if a  development application proposing to commercially extract water from a Uki property is approved..
Audrey O'Donnell-Parr, 11, and Greg O'Donnell outside Tweed Shire Council before Audrey spoke to councillors about her concerns for the safety of her friends on Rowlands Creek Rd if a development application proposing to commercially extract water from a Uki property is approved.. Aisling Brennan

"I've got a friend who lives on Rowland Creek Rd who walks on the street every single day and a truck could easily not see him,” she said.

Councillor Chris Cherry said it was imperative the council defer the decision to ensure all matters of safety and the potential damage to the roads were addressed.

"The trucks could potentially create a lot of damage and it's important our roads are up to that kind of treatment,” she said.

Cr Cherry said she also believed the council had the responsibility to assess the environmental impacts of water extraction for commercial purposes, an issue that has been continuously raised by the Uki community on social media and in public forums.

"To date we've taken the stance that it's the NSW Office of Water's responsibility (to assess environmental concerns),” she said.

"The advice from the Environmental Protection Authority contradicted that and it's in our duty to investigate it.”

Mayor Katie Milne said the council needed to decide if the final decision should reflect the public's interest as opposed to one individual.

"Our ratepayers are subsiding this industry,” she said. "The amount of (developer) contributions are just not covering it.”

The decision has been deferred to December 7.

Topics:  development application tweed shire council water extraction



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