Newry Island residents say the council’s request for $15,000 per property is simply not affordable.
Newry Island residents say the council’s request for $15,000 per property is simply not affordable.

Stink over sewers at Newry Island

WHEN Bellingen Shire Council asked Newry Island resident Mick Burgess and his wife Alisha to redo the trenches for their septic tank last year, the couple did so.

“It cost us $3500, but we care about the river, so we understood,” Mr Burgess said.

However, the recent arrival of a letter telling residents of plans to extend the sewer to the remaining 42 island properties did not meet with the same response.

“They said it will cost us $15,000 plus a few thousand extra for connection – we just don’t have that sort of money.”

Mr Burgess said when he asked council staff if the sewer connection would guarantee the resolution of the Kalang River pollution problems, he was told “no”.

“If someone could give us some facts to justify this, it would help – we don’t want to have to pay money based on a theory.”

Another resident Gavin Hickey, said while he could see the benefits of the sewerage connection, he regretted the request coming after he’d already spent money putting more trenches in.

“The council asked people to spend money to fix their septics and people did what was asked,” Mr Hickey said.

“Now the council is asking for more money ... they are effectively telling people they have wasted their money.”

Mr Hickey said he was aware of a precedent for residents sharing sewerage infrastructure costs set at North Beach some years ago.

The council’s response will be published in Friday’s edition of the Advocate.



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