Is Tweed becoming 'the water mining capital of Australia'?
TWEED Water Alliance has slammed Tweed Shire Council for recommending a water extraction application be approved, believing many of the points of contention have not been resolved.
A development application lodged on behalf of Rowlands Creek Rd resident Jack Hallam, who plans to extract 24 megalitres of water a year from his property for commercial use, will be reassessed by the council on Thursday after the initial decision was deferred in November 2017 for further assessment.
At the time the council requested further information about issues associated with traffic, road maintenance, environmental concerns and legal advice for councillors.
After months of reassessing the application, staff are recommending the council approve Mr Hallam's request to extract water from his Uki property.
But Tweed Water Alliance spokesperson Jeremy Tager said it was "absurd" the council should even consider approving the application in the first place.
"If council supports this absurd recommendation, this will make the Tweed Shire the water mining capital of Australia, with open slather permitted by a council too weak to protect the public as they are charged with doing," Mr Tager said.
"The report from council staff claims that NSW Water has said extraction will have no impact.
"Council staff fails to address numerous issues with Rowlands Creek Rd and road safety and in one case maintains that an intersection that was once a problem no longer is.
"Council staff have not investigated or resolved areas where the road is significantly narrower than the applicant has claimed.
"Council staff claim that climate trends have been assessed. They haven't. They claim Aboriginal heritage values associated with water have been assessed. They haven't.
"Not only has council staff failed at even the most basic level of due diligence, it has completely dismissed the overwhelming opposition of residents of the shire."
Mr Tager told Tweed Daily News that if the council does approve the application, TWA will be seeking legal advice on what to do next.
"Both the errors and omissions and the water study suggest they'll have to go back and do this work again," he said.
"If they don't, it will have to go back to litigation because this community will not let this go.
"If there are legal grounds for it, if it is approved we will certainly be talking to our lawyers about taking this to litigation.
"We've become the water mining capital of Australia."