Local, Science/Environment

Coffs Harbour City council votes to change Woopi Dam licence

The state’s water authorities will be asked to consider an urgent application by Coffs Harbour City Council to enable Woolgoolga Dam to be accessed for irrigation and agricultural use.

At last night’s extraordinary meeting, Councillors voted 5-2 in support of a motion to change the dam’s water licence to allow for 45 percent of the supply to be sold to drought-affected farmers.

Protestors at last night’s Council meeting in Coffs Harbour

The Mayor Denise Knight and Councillor Sally Townley voted against the motion. Councillor John Arkan was absent.

Cr Townley proposed to amend the motion to include conditions about how the water would be disbursed as well as parameters for its use and availability, but it was voted against 4-3.

Outside the chamber, residents held placards in a show of anger over the decision (pictured above). Some argued that the water should be allocated to re-fill dams at Glenreagh and Nana Glen that were used to fight recent bushfires.

From The ABC Coffs Coast Facebook page – Monday 13 January 2020.

Editors note; 7.20 a.m. Tuesday 14 January 2020 – This decision comes at the same time that Council has sent notices to residents in the Orara Vallley that they have commenced trucking domestic water from the Karangi Dam because the Orara River’s levels have dropped significantly. The notice is below.

One Comment

  1. Ron Richards

    The thing that leaves a bad taste in the mouth about this is that the opaque, seemingly unaccountable actions of paid executive staff in apparently approving and actioning this sale without elected official approval have just been glossed over.

    That, quite simply is not good enough. It is ‘amatuer hour’ stuff quite frankly. Or worse.

    Council seems to have run cover for these inept yet highly paid employees of ours. Why has there been no action in this regards?

    It is high time Councillors realised the paid executive reports to them, not the other way around!

    More and more it is apparent that a largely new Council needs to voted in later this year. Preferably one that will get an independent audit of the CHCC done as a first order of business and then secondly do a review of all the senior executive positions in the CHCC. And that is just for starters.

    As ratepayers are we not entitled to know who approved this water sale when it was clearly not legal, how much was paid for the water, why only one horticultural sector of the local agricultural industry got access to the water and why it is the purchasor of the water does not seem to have had a basic risk management strategy in place?

    And then there is the whole issue of draining both a valuable ecological and firefighting resource at a time of the worst bush fire season in our region’s history. And at exactly the same time the Orara River has been allowed to be drained dry no less.

    A disgraceful episode on so many counts IMO.

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