Councils get their way on water and sewerage

COFFS HARBOUR City and Bellingen Shire councils have won the day on water and sewerage.

The State Government's inquiry into the future of water supplies and sewerage management in the State has recommended the two councils form a binding alliance.

Direct responsibility for the operation and management of water supply and sewerage services would remain with the councils.

“This was the outcome we were looking for and one that both councils put to the inquiry,” Coffs Harbour mayor Cr Keith Rhoades said.

“Coffs Harbour City Council has a great deal of expertise in ground-breaking water and sewerage supply management that we can share with Bellingen.

“It also makes sense for us to work with our nearest neighbours - a principle we've already used very successfully on the $180-million Regional Water Supply Project with Clarence Valley Council.” The inquiry report says: “With 23,000 connected properties and over $30 million in annual revenue, Coffs Harbour has both the scale and resources to remain a stand-alone utility. However, the preference of the councils to form an alliance is advantageous.”

The report also notes that a binding alliance would allow staff to remain in their existing locations and bring additional skills and resources to Bellingen council.

“Our main concern is to ensure a safe, secure water supply and sewerage service for our community and an alliance with Coffs Harbour City Council will help us achieve that goal,” Bellingen mayor Mark Troy said.

“We have a strong working relationship with Coffs Harbour City Council in many areas and an alliance, as proposed, promotes the preservation of our two local government entities.”

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