The Tweed Shire Council has been divided on whether to scrap the Byrrill Creek Dam for good. Pictured: Clarrie Hall Dam which is set to have its walls raised.
The Tweed Shire Council has been divided on whether to scrap the Byrrill Creek Dam for good. Pictured: Clarrie Hall Dam which is set to have its walls raised.

Is it time to scrap this dam project for good?

Is it time to scrap the Byrrill Creek Dam project for good?

That was the recommendation on a report tabled to the Tweed Shire Council at the general meeting on Thursday, but some councillors believe in holding onto the project.

The Water Strategies Review Project Completion - Project Reference Group Recommendations to Council report recommended 13 strategies in regard to water supply including desalination and using recycled potable water.

However it was the recommendation to not further consider Byrrill Creek Dam due to its rainfall dependency that had councillors divided.

Councillor Warren Polglase stood profusely against the recommendation, stating recycling water would not be necessary with the amount of rainfall the shire receives.

"Wouldn't it be better if we build another dam," Councillor Polglase said.

"The average Australian does not accept that sort of thing (recycling potable water) because of the rainfall."

He also noted the power consumption desalination plants use and the costs associated.

Councillor Katie Milne, who sat on the project reference group, said she fully supported the recommendations including scrapping the Byrrill Creek dam.

"Certainly the advice from the consultants was that council really needed to be looking at water supply options that weren't rainfall dependent," Cr Milne said.

"You can build as many dams as you like but it doesn't mean it will rain and fill these dams."

Mayor Chris Cherry also supported the recommendations, noting the council had spent about $180,000 on the PRG.

"To ignore one of the most significant recommendations - to me it makes a mockery of the whole process," Cr Cherry said.

Councillor Pryce Allsop was divided on the dam, noting the public who had spoken against the project.

"Everyone's happy to say we don't want a dam if there's no need," Cr Allsop said.

"But we don't want it removed if it is needed."

Councillor James Owen also said he could not support the recommendation.

He noted plans to raise the wall of Clarrie Hall Dam, however was concerned it was not enough.

"Demand will exceed (water) supply in about 20 years after that wall is raised," Cr Owen said.

"We are going to need more water."

Cr Milne responded to the concerns raised by the councillors and said even if the dam was scrapped at this point it could be brought back on if necessary.

"We've got 17 years before we need to get fully serious," she said.

"Let's just see if we can do it - if we can't it can always come back."

Councillor Ron Cooper said he supported going ahead on the water strategy without the dam.

"As long as the land form is still there, the option's still there," Cr Cooper said.

A vote was taken on an amended recommendation that the council adopts the Water Strategies review Project Reference Group (PRG) recommendations; the council proceeds with the implementation of the recommendations with the modification to recommendation 3 (Byrrill Creek Dam) to be in line with the PRG recommendations; that the review was used to inform the council's Integrated Water Cycle Management Strategy and council thanks the group for its work.

The motion was voted of in favour by all except councillors Owen and Polglase.

Councillor Reece Byrnes did not attend the meeting.



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