Kalang River works delayed

ACTIONS to remedy the contaminated Kalang River will be postponed for three months pending further assessment.

Bellingen Shire Council today considered the draft Kalang River Quality Improvement Plan which identifies pollution sources and outlines mitigation methods.

A key proposal is the connection of 42 properties on Newry Island to an extended sewer line. Residents would need to install individual pump stations, such as the suggested E1 pump, and pipes to connect to the sewer main. The estimated cost to each property owner is between $7000 and $15,000.

Two affected residents, Rose Bingham and John Hamill, raised concerns over unidentified maintenance costs.

Ms Bingham asked the council why residents should shoulder the cost of ongoing upkeep and whether the pumps were the best solution.

“I wonder whether the pump is a quick-fix and think we need more time to source a better option. I think council would be surprised at the level of repairs needed,” Ms Bingham said.

Mr Hamill said diligent upkeep would be needed to address overflow and he would like more information on estimated costs before the action plan is implemented.

“If we eliminate sewerage problems and the pumps overflow we are back to square one and I am not happy with this proposal,” Mr Hamill said.

Director of Environment, Health and Planning, Charlie Hannavy, said residents were responsible for this standard, private infrastructure.

“We will continue to seek grants to cover costs but at this stage there is no funding available,” he said.

Cr Ian Coe highlighted the need to give residents a better indication of costs involved. Councillors gave recognition to the importance of getting the proposal right and to alleviate residents’ concerns while adhering to a responsive time frame.

Adoption was deferred, allowing the council to examine alternative systems, identify maintenance costs, consult further with affected residents and to aim for better equity among all Newry Island residents.

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