Lismore MP Thomas George tells a meet the candidates forum on Thursday night he will back any necessary plans to secure his electorate’s water supplies.
Lismore MP Thomas George tells a meet the candidates forum on Thursday night he will back any necessary plans to secure his electorate’s water supplies. Scott Powick

George stands alone on dam

SITTING National Party MP Thomas George has emerged as the only candidate for the seat of Lismore to back plans for a controversial dam at Byrrill Creek.

Mr George, whose electorate covers Murwillumbah and the proposed dam site, told Thursday night's pre-election forum in Murwillumbah that he would do whatever had to be done to provide future water supplies, including supporting Tweed Shire Council's plan for a new dam.

Mr George said he would support whichever plan was shown to be necessary to secure water supplies for Tweed's burgeoning population.

Yesterday, he said the election next Saturday now offered a clear choice.

“If you want infrastructure for Tweed to cope for future growth, you vote for us,” he said.

“Both Labor and the Greens have spelt out quite clearly they are not going to build it.”

Mr George told the crowd on Thursday night crowd he had been told raising the wall of the Clarrie Hall Dam was not possible “without pulling it down and starting again”.

Yesterday he said he had received that information from “people involved with building” the wall.

A council spokeswoman said: “The advice received by Mr George is incorrect.”

If the dam wall was to be raised, she said the thickness on the downstream would be increased, requiring lowering the dam capacity to 75% during construction.

“Otherwise the dam would continue to function as normal,” she said.

Mr George responded that the council had failed to provide him with any such information and he stood by his statement.

Mr George said he would back whatever infrastructure was recommended by experts as necessary, but the only correspondence he had received from the council concerning the dam was a 12-point questionnaire, which listed the dam as point 11.

“The only facts that have ever been put on my table have come from the opponents of the dam,” he said.

“I haven't seen the ‘for' side.

"Council has not put their proposal to us.”

Independent candidate Russell Kilarney said future water needs of the Tweed had to be considered, but the Byrrill Creek dam should be a “last resort” and suggested other possible sites should be investigated.

Labor candidate for Lismore Andrew Moy told Thursday night's forum he was strongly against the dam proposal and yesterday added the council was wasting money even pursuing the idea.

“With the amount of threatened species there it will get thrown to the Federal Government and they won't let them do it,” Mr Moy said.

“The way to go... is instead of 10,000-litre rainwater tanks on new homes have 36,000-litre tanks, which would also be a great benefit for firefighting.”

Greens candidate Susan Stock said the proposed Byrrill Creek dam would be 40 metres high and inundate a vital wildlife corridor between national parks that is home to 71 threatened species.

“The proposed dam site is so exquisitely beautiful, surrounded by core koala habitat and the creek home to many platypus,” she said.

“The land is also home for 26 species of threatened plants and 45 species of threatened animals.

“I wonder whether Thomas George has ever explored it and seen the beauty and rarity of this lowland rainforest?”



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