People lead power push

DRAINING AWAY: A pipe pumps water into the downstream section of Goolang Creek.
DRAINING AWAY: A pipe pumps water into the downstream section of Goolang Creek.

THE pressure on electricity supplier Essential Energy to re-open the Nymboida Hydro-Electric Power Station is coming at it from all sides.

The 90-year-old station, on Goolang Creek, was damaged during flooding almost a year ago and has been shut ever since. Its closure has also caused the downstream Nymboida Canoe Centre to close.

Residents have raised a petition calling on the NSW Government to ensure the station and canoe centre remain and the Member for Clarence, Chris Gulaptis is also on the case, ready to begin lobbying government ministers to ensure the power station and canoe centre return to full operation.

Business people like Steve and Leila Muir, whose Grafton Paddle Sports business piggybacks on the canoe centre's popularity, are also determined to see the centre stay open.

And from outside the region, Canoeing Australia CEO Greg Doyle has weighed in with a letter to the NSW Parliament supporting the retention of the power station and canoe centre. A member of the residents' group who raised the petition, Annie Wolff, said the response to the petition had been heartening.

"Where ever we've taken it we've had 95% support - probably more," she said.

"It's going to run until the end of March, then Mr Gulaptis will take it to parliament."

In addition to its physical present the petition is also available on line and Ms Wolff said it had attracted a lot of support from outside the area.

Mr Gulaptis said it he has been in regular contact with Essential Energy management, offering to lobby government ministers to get support for the region.

"There are quite a few ministers whose portfolios touch this issue," Mr Gulaptis said. "At the moment Essential Energy are looking into proposals to install new generators or allow flow down the river for the environment and the canoe centre." Mr Muir, a four-time national canoeing champion said the canoe centre was the reason he took up the sport.

"It's been the reason a lot of our best competitors have got into the sport," he said.

"Olympic silver medallist Jacquie Lawrence - and her brother and sister - all got their starts in the sport here and came back for their training."

How to sign

Hard copy petitions are located at many outlets including:

 Grafton Base Hospital

 The electorate office of Chris Gulaptis MP, Prince Street Grafton.

 Grafton Health Foods Prince street Grafton

 5 Mile Hotel Armidale Road South Grafton

 Alchemy Skinner St South Grafton.

 Coutts Crossing General Store

 Coutts Crossing Tavern

 Coutts Crossing Public School

 Nymboida Coaching Station

 Nymboida Public School

Further inquiries:

Topics:  electricity essential energy nymboida nymboida river petition power station

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