Anger in Kangaroo Valley over plans for Sydney's water!
A well-attended meeting that filled the Community Hall to overflowing heard that the Government had grabbed at raising the dam in an impulsive move to solve Sydney's water problems and that they had announced the decision without any Environmental Impact Studies into the effects or community consultation.
Elizabeth George, President of the Kangaroo Valley Community Association, said the Sydney Catchment Authority had been raping Kangaroo Valley since April 2003, without a care for the environmental and economic impacts on the Valley. "It is outrageous that the Government announced on 11 June that the dam wall would be raised without first doing any studies to assess the impact. This announcement was made without knowledge that the village might be subjected to flooding, and with incorrect information about the height that waters near the village would rise to. And to top it off, they are declaring this 'critical infrastructure' so they don't have to go through the full Environmental Impact process!"
A public meeting in the Valley last year set up the Lake Yarrunga Task Force because of the problems caused by the pumping to Sydney. The Taskforce has sent many questions to the Government about compensation for property damage and businesses adversely affected, protection for the heritage listed Hampden Bridge, land resumptions, and preservation of tourist facilities enjoyed by thousands of tourists every year. Most of the questions remain unanswered.
The Minister for the Environment, Hon Bob Debus, and the General Manager of the Sydney Catchment Authority both refused invitations to address a public meeting about the issues.
Peter Stanton, President of the Kangaroo Valley Environment Group, explained to the meeting what he understood of the Government's announcements. Glyn Stones, Treasurer of Kangaroo Valley Tourist Association, showed pictures that displayed the damage done by the pumping to Sydney, which impacts on Valley businesses and people's livelihoods.
A campaign committee has been established to fight the Government's plans. Peter Stanton said "Let Sydney manage its own water issues properly, before devastating our community. They pump billions of litres of waste water out to sea. Why isn't it being recycled as in many other cities of the world?"
Peter Stanton 44 651688; Glyn Stones 44 651502; Elizabeth George 44 651010;
Keith Learn 44 651117; Barbara Woodney 44 651002
1 Will there be a full EIS? If not, what issues that were required prior to the recent amendment of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act will not be assessed?
2 What protection from flooding will there be for buildings in the village?
3 Will the Government guarantee that the scheme will not proceed if any homes would have increased likelihood of flooding?
4 For how long will the river be unavailable for recreational use? (Two years has been mentioned as the construction period.)
5 Will there be compensation for businesses adversely affected by these proposals?
6 How do businesses plan advance advertising, such as yellow pages, which has to be booked months ahead at huge expense?
7 How will the integrity of the heritage-listed Hampden Bridge be protected? The previous bridge, which was only slightly lower than Hampden Bridge, was taken out by flood waters.
8 What would happen to the current SCA set-back around Lake Yarrunga? Would additional land be resumed to create a higher set-back? What compensation would there be for landowners?
9 What action would be taken in relation to houses around Lake Yarrunga and the Kangaroo River that would be affected by a raising of the dam wall and by floods that occurred following any raising of the dam wall?
10 As flooding is not covered by insurance, will the Government compensate affected owners for any damage to property?
11 Any raising of the dam wall will affect facilities at the Hampden Bridge, Bendeela, and the Tallowa Dam picnic areas and car park. How and where will these facilities be replaced?
12 Has the RTA been consulted on the probability of increased frequency and duration of closure of Moss Vale Road during flooding?
13 Have SCA taken into account the data of the SCC Flood Study which is now nearing completion?
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