Residents say no

OPENING MOVES: Members of the CSG-Free Byron Bay group gather at Broken Head to gauge public feeling about mining.
OPENING MOVES: Members of the CSG-Free Byron Bay group gather at Broken Head to gauge public feeling about mining. Digby Hildreth

A SURVEY to establish local feeling about coal seam gas mining (CSG) in the shire found nearly 100% of Broken Head residents are "resoundingly" for a gasfield-free Byron Bay.

Many of those quizzed by volunteers on Saturday morning even wanted to become part of the Lock The Gate campaign, said survey co-ordinator Suzie Deyris.

"There was not one person who wanted gasfields in our region and only one or two who did not want to know," Ms Deyris said. "Most people were interested and some were relieved to be able to talk about what they know, share information and ideas and be included in the CSG-free community."

Ms Deyris was one of nearly 30 members of CSG-Free Byron Bay who gathered at Broken Head to pick up maps and questionnaires before spreading out through the area. The survey was the first stage of a shire-wide poll to inform the public and gauge the level of opposition to CSG mining.

Ms Deyris said it was "a very ambitious endeavour to bring the community together" to stand up for what it wanted. Such surveys were "a tried and true strategy that started in The Channon and proved to be very powerful", she said.

A bee-lover, Ms Deyris said she was concerned about the effect that large amounts of methane emitted from the gasfields would have on such vulnerable creatures.

"One of the problems with these wells is that the proper base studies haven't been done," she said. "The companies that put in the wells don't have to disclose what chemicals they are using underground."

The survey of the rest of the shire will begin in late February. The group has scheduled a recruitment and information meeting on Saturday, February 23, from 2-5pm at the Byron Bay Sports and Cultural Centre.



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