Water levels in Clarrie Hall Dam would rise under a proposal to raise the dam wall.
Water levels in Clarrie Hall Dam would rise under a proposal to raise the dam wall.

Dam plans trigger alarm bells

ALARM bells about Tweed Shire Council’s multi-million-dollar plans to shore up water supplies for the region are being rung by a Murwillumbah-based conservation lobby group.

The Caldera Environment Centre – which is concerned about plans to raise the wall of the existing Clarrie Hall Dam, build a new dam at Byrill Creek and possibly build pipelines to bring water from the Gold Coast or Lismore – has called a public meeting to be held in Uki next Monday night.

The group’s secretary Sam Dawson, who has previously spoken out against dams calling them old technology and an environmental representative of a community committee looking at the options, has called on the public to attend the meeting at 7.30pm in the Uki hall.

According to one of the meeting organisers, Joanna Gardner, the proposal for a new dam means residents at Byrill Creek who protested against the recent world championship car rally are “jumping from the rally frying pan into the dam fire”.

“If you had issues about the rally, it is in the past now and let’s let it go,” she has told residents in a widely circulated email.

“The dam is permanent for generations to come, and is a very real option that affects our beautiful valley.”

She said despite requests to the council, Byrill Creek landholders had only been given one representative rather three on the community committee looking at the options.

Because of concern from landholders around the Clarrie Hall Dam about a proposal to raise that dam’s wall, Ms Gardner said the Uki meeting would look at both that option and the planned new dam at Byrill Creek.

“If you would like to be informed and want some input please come along and spread the word,” she said.

Councillors voted in October to put raising the wall of the Clarrie Hall dam at the top of its list of preferred options for future water supply, followed by a new dam at Byrill Creek west of Mt Warning and tapping into south-east Queensland water supplies.

But they shelved one controversial option – a new dam west of Murwillumbah on the Oxley River that would flood parts of Tyalgum which council staff ranked in fifth position ahead of desalination and the “socially unacceptable” options of water re-use.



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