Nambucca considers dams again

NAMBUCCA Shire Council is pushing ahead with a re-investigation of dams at the head of the valley as possible solutions to its future water needs.

It last week decided to allocate $20,000 for a consultant to revisit the 2007 decision to opt for an off-stream storage facility at Bowraville. That dam in largely downgraded bushland north of Bowraville is currently budgeted to cost $50 million to $55 million.

The consultant will now investigate the costs associated with dams at both League Creek and Gravelly Creek.

With Councillor Paula Flack declaring a pecuniary interest because either dam would result in the inundation of her property and those of neighbours and friends at North Arm, it was left to Cr Ann Smyth to argue against the engagement of the consultant.

“Three years ago, council spent $8000 and ruled out an on-stream dam so I can’t see the point of re-visiting the idea,” Cr Smyth said.

“We don’t have the money to waste,” she said.

Money is very much at the heart of the decision. In 2007, the League Creek and Gravelly Creek dam options were costed at $25 and $35 million respectively.

“The cheaper we can get the job done the better from my point of view,” Cr Michael Moran said.

But Cr Smyth said those figures were not a real indicator of final costs.

“Those figures don’t include the cost of acquiring land at North Arm, the cost of pumping that water to the Bowraville borefield, the impact on council of the loss of rates paid by those property owners or the cost of undertaking new environmental studies,” she said.

“When you take those and many other factors into consideration I can’t see how either on-stream dam will be cheaper.”

The recommendation was carried but outside the meeting Cr Flack said there was another cost which had to be factored in.

“The residents of North Arm are completely against both of the on-stream options, so Council must take into account the cost of the inevitable legal challenges which will surely follow any decision to dam either the League or Gravelly creeks,” she warned.

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