Dunoon Dam rejected again, but it’s not over yet
Rous County Council has rejected a rescission motion about the proposed Dunoon Dam for the area.
The motion would have stopped Rous from disposing of the land it owns and was earmarked for the dam.
It stopped short from officially bringing the proposed dam into Rous' Water Future Plan 2060.
The motion was presented by Ballina councillor Sharon Cadwallader, plus Richmond Valley Mayor Robert Mustow and councillor Sandra Humphrys.
The motion would have removed the reference to "cease all work around the Dunoon Dam", which was approved in the December 2020 meeting.
The defeated motion spoke about directing the general manager to "provide a report on the orderly exit from Dunoon Dam as an option in the Future Water Project."
Councillors Cadwallader, Mustow and Humphrys voted in favour and all other five councillors voting against.
Cr Cadwallader said there was not enough evidence to remove the dam from the water strategy.
"We know that in dry times the water stops running," she said.
"I am concerned that if enough stress is placed on the Alstonville aquifer, it will collapse.
"In the councils involved, there is little to none understanding of the magnitude of this issue."
Before the vote was completed, Cr Cadwallader said she will present another rescission motion for the next Rous County Council meeting.
Cr Mustow called on his fellow councillors to support the motion.
"I think it's premature and short sighted to dispose of this land," he said.
"We need to be thinking strategically for the future, not for 10 years, but from until 2060.
Byron mayor Simon Richardson spoke against the rescission motion.
"While we say to the state government that we are open to a dam, they will offer us a dam," he said.
"The only way to get them to allow change is to stop giving them the option to support the dam.
"The National Party are the ones open to find other solutions, the ones with constituencies in dry areas.
"I'd suggest the chance for us to get both parties to join this discussion may be closer than we think."
Lismore councillor Darlene Cook said Rous will not be selling the land it owns in the Dunoon and The Channon area in the short term.
"This motion leaves us all with uncertainty, we would be left in limbo," she said.
"This is just too open ended, while a report suggested in the December meeting would allow us to have certainty about the future."
Rous councillors will reconvene next month for an extraordinary meeting to discuss the Water Future Plan 2060.