WATER FEARS: Uki residents are concerned about a commercial water extraction DA.
WATER FEARS: Uki residents are concerned about a commercial water extraction DA. Aisling Brennan

Patience runs dry in Uki over water mining

MORE than 180 people gathered at Uki Public Hall on Thursday to raise concern over a development application to extract water from a Rowlands Creek Rd residence.

The group of concerned residents from Uki and neighbouring areas - including Urliup Rd and Dungay Creek Rd, where two similar DAs are also under way - discussed how the proposal could impact the local environment and infrastructure.

Rowlands Creek Rd resident Jack Hallam, a former NSW agriculture minister who did not attend the meeting, has resubmitted a DA to commercially extract 24megalitres per year from a pre-existing bore on his property for commercial use, after withdrawing his original application last month.

While some residents voiced their fears about the extraction of water from the area, most residents were concerned the rural road would not be able to sustain three 19m trucks per day, six days per week, 50 weeks per year as outlined in the DA.

Uki resident Terry Manning, who has been driving trucks for 45 years, told the crowd it would be unsafe to negotiate a 19m truck along the narrow bends of Rowlands Creek Rd.

"Rowlands Creek Rd to be quite honest would terrify me," Mr Manning said.

"A 19m truck to come round with 43 tons would have to turn beside the school and take up two lanes to come down Kyogle Rd. It can't go straight past the Uki Cafe because the driver would be completely blind."

Mr Manning said he couldn't understand why the council had not implemented a load limit for the road.

"The amount of damage that will be done is quite remarkable really," he said.

 

More than 120 people gathered at Uki Hall to express their concern over a development application to commercially extract water from a Rowlands Creek Rd property.
More than 120 people gathered at Uki Hall to express their concern over a development application to commercially extract water from a Rowlands Creek Rd property. Aisling Brennan

Rowlands Creek Rd resident Trevor White said his measurements of the road differed from those reported in the lodged traffic report for the DA.

"The bad bends that Rowlands Creek residents know too well get no mention at all, nor do the sections of road that could slip into the creek again with a bit of wet weather and constant pounding from these trucks," Mr White said.

Mr Manning agreed, saying the road damage caused by the trucks would cost council dearly, suggesting a load limit be applied to the road.

"The actual costs to the council for this stretch of road is going to be astronomical," he said.

"If his driveway comes onto the road at 90 degrees, as the truck screws onto the road to straighten up it will tear the bitumen out of the road straight away.The amount of damage that will be done is quite remarkable really. If he drops tyres off the side of the road it's going to rip out the road."

Tweed council Deputy Mayor Chris Cherry joined councillors Ron Cooper and Pryce Allsop at the meeting and said the increase in water mining applications was a top priority.

 

Deputy Mayor Chris Cherry speaks at Uki Hall about a development application to commercially extract water from a Rowlands Creek Rd property.
Deputy Mayor Chris Cherry speaks at Uki Hall about a development application to commercially extract water from a Rowlands Creek Rd property. Aisling Brennan

"I think the most important issue we're facing across the shire is this kind of plethora of licence applications that have come up or have been granted and now they're going to be transferred into bottling," Cr Cherry said.

Cr Cooper said the community should petition the State Government to put a stop to water mining in the region but admitted the council had a responsibility to help.

"These people need action now and it seems to me council has to call a moratorium on it until there is scientific evidence that the extraction of this water has no deleterious effects," Cr Cooper said.



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