Sewer gets Newry residents pumped

NEWRY Island residents say a meeting with Bellingen Shire Council is needed so the views of those residents affected by a proposal to sewer their properties can be heard.

Forty two properties received a letter from the council in early December telling them an extension of the sewer to include their properties was necessary to resolve the ongoing pollution problems in the Kalang River.

The cost per property has been estimated at $15,000.

“A meeting is imperative so we can get more information,” resident John Hamill said.

“It is not that people are necessarily against being connected to the sewer, it is more about the cost and the options. People here have a whole range of questions they would like answered.”

Another resident Elaine Reid said the tone of the letter had been rather high-handed and the timing, just before Christmas and the holiday period, was wrong.

“We were not happy with the way this was done,” Mrs Reid said.

“The consultation period was timed for the holidays and the presumption was that no response meant ‘yes'...just like the fluoride survey a few years ago.

“I think we are the scapegoats for the river problem.

“I would like to hear some professional opinions as to our options – this amount of money for pensioners is a big ask.”

Bellingen Council's director of health and planning Charlie Hannavy said he was open to the idea of a meeting but no date had yet been set.

“We are still in the response stage after the initial letter,” Mr Hannavy said.

“Then we need to get the engineering department to draft some details of the plan.

“We have outlined our preferred option but we are happy to hear other opinions.”

Mr Hannavy said the overall issue was the health of the river and connecting all houses to the sewer seemed the best option.

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