The protest was held to make a plea to the council to make the only possible decision on the application currently before them.
“Council staff at this very moment are writing a report and making recommendations to our councillors on whether this can go or not,” said local on-site sewerage consultant Garry Scott, gesturing to the nearby council chambers.
“We’re wanting to say to staff members down there to have some courage, do what is right, do what you would to any other applicant on a site like this.”
Garry explained that the flood-prone site is not suitable for the on-site waste water system proposed by Woolworths as a way of avoiding the sewerage moratorium in place in Mullumbimby for some years.
“The on-site waste water system has been approved by the State Planning Department, and how that happened is anybody’s guess,” said Garry.
“It’s absolutely incredible that on such a site, with all the rules and regulations required for on-site waste water systems, that such a thing could be approved, so now it’s in Byron Shire Council’s court.
“It’s up to them to say yes or no to an on-site system on a flat, flood-prone piece of land, close to both drainage lines and the Brunswick River.”
The concern is also that attempting an on-site system on land not capable of supporting it would lead to a de facto pump-out plan, prohibited in sewered urban areas of the shire under council policy.
As Gary squelched through the ankle-deep muddy water of the proposed supermarket site in his gumboots, he shook his head at the idea of the proposal he says is “ludicrous”.
“Anyone who knows anything about on-site waste water would never even contemplate trying to dispose of effluent of any quality at all in soil that is waterlogged, flat and in town,” he said.
The Mullumbimby Community Action Network is urging all those opposed to Woolworths attempting to jump the sewerage moratorium queue by proposing an on-site waste water system to write to the mayor, councillors, the general manager and the director of planning asking that they refuse Woolworths’ application.
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