Why I may never work for Bathurst Regional Council again.

I flicked on the television yesterday at lunch and caught Jennifer Byrne interviewing Australian author Di Morrissey on The Book Club. She was reading Morrissey’s author statement from her 2009 book Silent Country.

‘There has come a time when we can no longer remain silent, but speak up for our country, which is being sold, abused, mined, depleted, drained, overworked, overloved, its plants and animals becoming endangered and exterminated faster than we can renew them. Our country is silent, so we must speak and act to save it.’

It’s funny how the universe works.

banks of the fish

In a couple of weeks, on February 17, the nine councillors of Bathurst Regional Council will vote on a proposal to sell approximately 10 million litres of recycled effluent to a gold mine in the Blayney Shire (about 23 kms away). That’s approximately 10 million litres a day. Approximately 10 million litres that is currently released into the Macquarie River and flows along the catchment. Approximately 10 million litres a day for the next 10 years. Possibly more.

There is, and Regis Resources will be quick to tell you about it, a Cease to Transfer clause proposed which means that if the river levels get too low, the Cease to Transfer clause will come into play and Regis will be prohibited from diverting water at that point.

A lot is riding on that Cease to Transfer clause.

There has come a time …

Over the past 12 years Bathurst Regional Council has been one of our valued clients and I’m very proud of the work we’ve produced for them. I love the Bathurst region and it has been a privilege to help promote it to the wider world.

When Bathurst took part in the Evocities project (a campaign designed to attract people from the city to the country) we were commissioned to design the welcome kit that would be sent to potential residents and businesses. It’s one of the jobs I’m most proud of in my 12 years running Red Moon Creative.

Interestingly, many pieces I’ve designed for Bathurst Regional Council have the river as their centrepiece.

Bathurst Welcome Kit front

Bathurst Welcome Kit

Bathurst billboard

 

I revisited the Evocities site this morning and this is what it has to say about Bathurst.

 

“Bathurst is in the top 5 growth areas of regional NSW
(Department of Planning & Environment NSW 2014).

Bathurst is booming! The region has experienced a strong population growth of 1.3% (ten-year average) and has been one of the fastest growth areas of all regional inland Cities in NSW (ABS: Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2011-2012). Additionally, the Bathurst economy grew by 2.2% in 2013 (National Institute of Economic & Industry Research). 

The Bathurst Region is a hot spot for business. Our City and surrounding region offers new and established businesses a dynamic economic environment, ideal for growth and expansion. 

Since the start of 2014 Council has received more than a dozen enquiries from companies and businesses wishing to relocate their business to Bathurst.

This is also reflected through the number of major infrastructure projects being planned in Bathurst including the $21 million retail/bulky goods development approved for Sydney Road, the expansion of Westpoint Shopping Centre and a development of a second major car racing track. 

….

So I am left thinking …

If “Bathurst is booming!”, if we are one of the top 5 growth areas of regional NSW, why the hell do we need to be putting the Macquarie River at further risk by selling water to a gold mine in another shire?

Regis Resources Ltd, the company behind the gold mine has been taking out regular full page ads in our local paper under the banner “Golden Opportunity for Bathurst”.  At first glance the figures look impressive but when you start to analyse them within the context of Bathurst’s total economic information, as Margaret Van Heekeren did in her submission to council (which I’ve included below) they lose much of their lustre.

regis

I have been reading many of the submissions which have been shared on the Don’t Mine the Macquarie facebook page. Charles Sturt University scientist David Goldney’s was one of the strongest, pointing out a number of very important doubts and concerns (I’ve included his submission below too).

So these are the questions I would put to the nine councillors facing this vote…

  1. Are you unequivocally 100% confident that you have received the accurate, detailed, unquestionable facts that you need to make this decision?
  2. Can each of you confidently respond to the seven issues and questions that David Goldney raises in his submission?
  3. Can each of you, in good conscience, approve the sale of this water to a mine in a different shire, when Bathurst is already in the top 5 growth areas of NSW with a growing population that will place increasing strain on our resources?

You have an opportunity here Bathurst Council.

Be the council that says “Yes, we’re open for business but we’re open for business on our own terms.” Be the council that other councils look to and say “Look at Bathurst, they’re protecting their water and their land and yet they’re still managing to provide good economic growth.”

I thought about writing this post from a different perspective. From an historical perspective, 100 years hence, through the eyes of someone looking back at the major decisions, the major turning points of the Bathurst region in the early 2000s. Through those future eyes I was envisaging two scenarios. 1: a council with the foresight to protect its resources and promote steady, sustainable growth and 2: a council that made a deal to sell water to a goldmine in another shire.

I may well be shooting myself in the foot here.

We may not work together again.

There are plenty of other designers.

But in my heart, if this goes through, I’m out. I’m done.

There has come a time.

 

We all live downstream.

 

#watermorepreciousthangold

I’d be grateful if you’d share this one. Especially if you have friends, family or colleagues downstream.

If you would like to join the Facebook group click here.
If you would like to sign the petition click here.

#watermorepreciousthangold

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Postscript … just as I hit publish on this, Councillor Monica Morse announced that she will not support the sale. That’s one. We need five. Thankyou Monica.

 

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MARGARET VAN HEEKEREN’S SUBMISSION TO COUNCIL.

SOURCES
Economy.id. Bathurst Regional Council Area economic profile Accessible at: http://economy.id.com.au/bathurst
Regis Resources (2015). Proposal to acquire treated waste water from Bathurst Regional Council. Accessible via the BRC website at: https://www.bathurst.nsw.gov.au/2014-11-27-01-34-01.html

SUBMISSION

Benefit one: as claimed by Regis Resources
“Estimated $150 million of expenditure during project construction, 50% of which is estimated to be in the local region”

Analysis:
• If 50% is in the region, this means the benefit to the region is 50 per cent of $150 million, therefore $75 million.
• According to the 2013/2014 economy.id economic profile the annual output to the region of all industries is 4 078.5million, that is more than $4 billion.
• Therefore the economic value of the mine during the construction phase represents just 1.8 per cent of the economic value of all Bathurst industry.
• This is at 2013/14 rates, the impact would be less significant currently or in the future, given Bathurst’s economic growth..

Benefit two: as claimed by Regis Resources
“200 direct jobs during the 12 to 18 months of project construction”

Analysis:
• According to the 2013/2014 economy.id economic profile 18,443 people were employed in the Bathurst region.
• Therefore the employment value of the mine during the construction phase represents just 1.08 per cent of all Bathurst employment
• Again, this would be less at current or future rates.

Benefit three: as claimed by Regis Resources
“150 direct jobs and 400 indirect jobs during the ten years of operation”

Analysis:
• According to the 2013/2014 economy.id economic profile 18,443 people were employed in the Bathurst region.
• Therefore the direct employment value of the mine during operation represents just .08 per cent (less than one per cent) of all Bathurst employment and the 400 indirect jobs represents 2.2 per cent of all Bathurst employment.
• These calculations are based on 2013/2014 statistics. Given employment rose by 2.3% between 2009/10 and 2013/14 a similar growth rate over the life of the mine would see an even smaller contribution from the mine to Bathurst regional employment.
• These calculations also assume that the 150 direct jobs and 400 indirect jobs will be constant each year for the 10 years of operation. If the figures are a sum of all jobs over the 10 years (for example 50 direct and 150 indirect for a couple of years then 100 and 250 for eight years) then the annual impact on regional employment is again reduced.

Benefit four: as claimed by Regis Resources
“Approximately $800 million of annual expenditure in the local region during the operations.”

Analysis:
• If the mine were operating in 2013/14 and raised industry output from 4 078.5 million to 4 878.5 million, it would have contributed just 16.9% of annual expenditure in the Bathurst region
• Given Bathurst is one of Australia’s fastest growing inland centres the region is more than likely to grow regardless of the proposed mine. Therefore, by the end of the life of the mine the economic contribution to the region will be even less.

Between 2008/09 and 2013/2014 economic output from the Bathurst economy grew by 10 per cent.

There are no indicators that suggest this has reversed or will reverse in the short term.

CONCLUSION
This submission has compared the projected economic and employment benefits of the proposed Regis Resources mine and finds that while there are advantages, their overall impact on the Bathurst economy is minor.

It has shown that Bathurst hasn’t needed a mine for economic growth and doesn’t need a mine for economic growth.

Dr Margaret Van Heekeren

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DAVID GOLDNEY’S SUBMISSION TO BRC

I am writing to register my opposition to the proposal to divert treated effluent water from Bathurst to the proposed gold mine at Kings Plains. I have reached this decision, only after careful consideration of the very complex hydrological and ecological issues that need to be mastered. I have done so as a scientist, independent environmental consultant, one of two hundred Bathurst Living legends, a nominee for citizen of the year in 2015, as a rate payer and as one who has lived and worked in the Bathurst region since 1972.

I am not philosophically opposed to the proposed gold mine at Kings Plains, although if I were a nearby resident I would not want it in my backyard! Independent of the decision that BRC arrives at re its effluent waste water, the gold mine would likely obtain its water from a potential range of other sources at or above market prices. Given its likely perceived importance to the economy of NSW, the proposal is likely to be fast tracked by the NSW Government. However, if the proposal falters, the gold will remain in the ground until it is economic to extract it and future generations of Bathurstians and others can still reap the supposed economic benefits.

The volume of water in question is approximately 10Ml/day around the equivalent of four Olympic swimming pools or 6 x 20 litre buckets of water passing a fixed point every second. This may seem a relatively small flow when one views what we see every day as ‘normal’ flow in the Macquarie River adjacent to Bathurst. However, when inevitably Bathurst pipes it water directly from Chifley Dam to the city for distribution in a semi-closed system, Bathurstians will be somewhat surprised to see what ‘normal’ river flows are actually like in an overcommitted system already under a range of environmental stresses. Releases of environmental flows downstream of the storage dam would then be dependent on a gauging station upstream of Chifley Dam. Under this scenario, there would be many days in a normal year when there would be no environmental releases from Chifley Dam, and the flow past Bathurst in the Macquarie River would then be very dependent on flows from the Fish River system. In drought years in particular there are likely to be many days when there would be no flow in the river past Bathurst, with the frequency of no flows increasing as the predicted impacts of climate change kick in. It may only be then that the importance of the effluent flow from the treatment works would be fully appreciated – too late then to back track if we have sold our water to a mining company for 10 – 20 years.

In the last few years we have lost up to 2Ml/day from environmental flows from the Duckmaloi pipe-head weir (a tributary of the upper Fish River). That water is added to the other Duckmaloi water that is piped to the Cascades Dam and elsewhere to increase security of supply for Katoomba. There are many reasons to believe that additional upper Fish River water could be diverted eastward to sustain the continued growth of the City of the Blue Mountains. Council should also be aware of the example of additional pressures to offtake water along the length of the Duckmaloi pipeline that, at last count, was around 300+ landholders accessing domestic and stock water from the pipeline. Already there is talk of sporting organisations and other interest groups wanting to access water from the proposed McPhillamys Gold Mine (MGM) pipeline! Once the pipeline is built, lobbying to also utilise the water from vested interests is likely to intensify. In the final analysis BRC does not own the water in the Macquarie River or in Chifley Dam, nor can we be certain once the pipeline is in place that governments of either persuasion might see political advantage in allowing additional water users to access the pipeline.

So we stand to lose water via the gold mine pipeline and very likely additional losses pumped eastward via the Fish River system. When the water pipeline from Chifley Dam to Bathurst is built (a very sensible water efficiency measure), assuming that irrigators would access their entitlements directly from the pipeline, then there would be many days when there would be no environmental flows released from Chifley Dam and likely many days when there would be no river flows past Bathurst. The frequency of no flow days would likely increase under the various scenarios predicted re the adverse impacts of climate change within our catchment.

Bathurst is fortunate to have Chifley Dam. Whilst the upper Macquarie catchment operates within a capped shared water plan within a regulated system, Bathurst town water is not capped, and theoretically can be increased to accommodate population increases if there is available water. However, as partners in a water sharing plan we are expected to behave responsibly. An argument can be made that the Bathurst effluent water is included in the water sharing accounting. That could well be a legal obstacle to selling off effluent water that can only be tested in the Land and Environment Court by an aggrieved party.

Bathurst is growing rapidly but there are limits to its growth and the major limitation will be water availability. There is insufficient ground water to supplement our water supply and we cannot access desalinated water. Hence we are mainly reliant on rainfall captured in Chifley Dam catchment and increasingly so on additional water efficiency measures (eg tank water, stormwater harvesting, trickle irrigation for irrigators etc). The upper population limit for Bathurst is likely to be within the range of 50,000 – 100,000 people, much less if significant additional industrial water is required in the coming years. Chifley Dam can probably be raised once more but at a much greater cost than the last raise, with the important downside of a much greater dam water surface area and therefore a proportional significant increase in water losses due to evaporation. Even if we do raise the Chifley Dam, The potentially available water will likely be only available for around 20% of the time. The next dam wall rise would deliver much less bang for bucks expended compared with the cost-benefits of the most recent increase in the capacity of Chifley Dam. The economics might not even stack up.

Given the scenario I have sketched, the limits to the future growth of Bathurst are there for all to see – and the limiting resource is water, There are likely to be additional calls on Fish River water to be pumped eastward to the Blue Mountains and elsewhere, and the construction of a pipeline to Bathurst from Chifley Dam would significantly change the existing river flows passing through Bathurst that we have grown accustomed to assume as being ‘normal’ when they are not. This does not seem an appropriate time for BRC to be selling off what it might be tempted to see as excess waste water. Rather we should be debating as a community as to how best to manage the water resources that we have at our disposal and begin to plan for near zero population growth that will be a realty with in the lifetime of our younger residents. I suspect that neither the BRC nor local business interests including the Business Chamber, are yet mentally or philosophically prepared to engage with the notion of near zero population growth for Bathurst.

My ability and competency to comment on the important question to be decided by Bathurst Councillors are based on the following:

• 40 years of ecological research and advocacy in the Macquarie River and the upper Macquarie catchment, the Macquarie Marshes, Blackman’s Creek and Summerhill Creek, etc including a 15-year population project on the platypus population on the Duckmaloi Weir;
• One of three scientists who determined the environmental flow regime from the Duckmaloi Weir in 1986 (unfortunately these flows have recently been reduced by around 30% to the detriment of Bathurst and without any comment from our community);
• The sole scientist determining the environmental flows below the Cadiangullong Dam on Cadiangullong Creek, a major tributary of the Belubula River;
• With Dr Mactaggart joint author of the Bathurst Urban Waterways Management Plan;
• Leader of a multi-disciplinary CSU team determining the efficacy of environmental flows below the Cadiangullong Dam as part of the consent conditions for the Cadia Valley Operations;
• Deputy chair of the Central West Catchment Management Board for 6 years including active involvement in the development of water sharing plans; and
• A four-year term as an Acting Commissioner in the NSW Land and Environment Court.

I will not go over ground that has been well covered by submissions by other Bathurst citizens. I would particularly draw attention to submissions from Chris Marshall, Tracey Sorenson (on behalf of BCCAN), Dr Margaret Van Heekeren, Dr Barbara Mactaggart and Colin Gordon. I am aware of many others, some with a heavy reliance on emotional arguments – these however should not be lightly
dismissed since they communicate a widespread deep sense of unease about the proposal that some are unable to communicate in any other way.

In closing my submission I would draw Council’s attention to the following issues and questions:

1. Is it ever a sensible proposition for water to be transferred from one catchment to another (in this case from the Macquarie to the Lachlan), more so since in the current case, a usable pipeline infrastructure will likely be there for decades to come with the completion of the current project, a pipeline with a very significant capacity to enable others to share in Macquarie River water. We cannot now undo the decision to pipe western water over the mountains via the Fish River Water Scheme to provide security of supply for the Blue Mountains as well as for power stations etc. However, we can learn important lessons from that decision.

2. McPhillamys Gold Mine has put its cards on the table for this particular stage of its planning. There would very likely be a stage 2 already in the planning phase with unknown resource requirements. My significant experience as a consultant with a number of Goldmines in the Central Western Region is that they will do what it legally takes to implement phase 1 of their long term planning (think in multiple decades not just a 10 year horizon). If and when a stage 2 comes up for assessment the barriers to approving a stage 2 proposal are usually less since there is already a legally compliant project up and running. The requirements for water in a stage 2 development may well be much greater than for stage 1.

3. Assuming that the MGM has a life of 10-15 years, what does BRC expect will happen to the major pipeline infrastructure when the mine life comes to an end? Will it be dismantled? Hardly since it will be expensive infrastructure with the potential for multiple other uses. Like the Fish River System it would be difficult to turn off the tap once the pipeline is built. Furthermore it has the potential to transfer large quantities of water to other users on a daily basis.

4. For hydraulic drag reasons, the diameter of the proposed pipeline would likely be in the order of 300 – 350mm diameter rather than a much smaller pipeline that some might envisage. While low flows are envisaged in the current MGM proposal, appropriate pumps in the future could potentially pump hundreds of mega litres per day through the proposed pipeline. If one combines the scenario of a pipeline from the waste treatment plant to MGM with the inevitable construction of a major pipeline from Chifley Dam to the water treatment works then there is the potential to link these pipelines together at some point in the future. There is already significant exploration for a range of minerals in a 100km radius of Bathurst. Some mineral deposits within 20-30 km of the MGM may only be able to be developed with appropriate amounts of expensive water. It is not an impossible scenario to conceive of other potential mines or even agricultural enterprises who might wish to also tap into the pipeline, more so under the increased drought conditions that are predicted to occur across the region as the impacts of climate change are experienced. Such scenarios if they were to occur would in the long term reduce Bathurst’s ceiling population.

5. I would estimate that the working/holding dam purpose built for MGM would need to be in the order of 500 Mega litres, perhaps larger. Is BRC knowledgeable about its volume, rates of evaporation and the length of time required to fill? Will this water be wholly sourced from Bathurst waste water? Has BRC carried out due diligence studies on the nature of water conservation measures to be utilised at the MGM and if these are best practice methods?

6. BRC is to be congratulated in seeking to have the SKM water impact assessment peer reviewed. The GDH peer review is a scathing indictment of the SKM waste water impact assessment although it is very civil and diplomatic in arriving at its conclusions. I would urge council staff and councillors to reread this important document. The GDH report exposes multiple weaknesses in the proposal and multiple points where aggrieved parties might successfully seek to exploit in a challenge in the Land and Environment Court. Eventually the mining company will likely prevail but not without significant costs to MGM and possibly BRC without any guarantee of recovering costs. At this stage I have not seen the mine impact assessment although I have searched for it on the WWW. One hopes that this document is not as flawed. This is not a ‘Dunkeld Dog Kennel’ equivalent case since there are significant issues associated with this proposal that have the potential to be challenged successfully within the Land and Environment Court.

7. Our current water strategy is over reliant on water flows via the Fish River and its tributaries. As I have argued elsewhere, it would be irresponsible to assume that this water would always be available to BRC in lieu of releases from Chifley Dam.

As a society surely this proposal should be seen as a welcome wakeup call that we need to plan for a ‘near zero population growth’ in Bathurst based on a predictable ceiling population with water the major limiting resource to population growth. In my opinion BRC should reject out of hand the proposed pipeline to transfer effluent water since there are too many risks associated with the proposed pipeline. To proceed at this stage on the basis of a short term financial gain may well lead to adverse unintended consequences, some that I have flagged, that future generations may need to address at substantial costs.

Yours Sincerely

David Goldney BSc Dip Ed PhD DSc (honoris causa) MEIA FISCAST
Principal Consulting Ecologist, Cenwest Environmental Services
Adjunct Professor, Charles Sturt University

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    34 Comments

    1. Tracey
      Posted 28 January 2016 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      An powerful post and stand – thank you so much Marg.

      • Marg
        Posted 28 January 2016 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

        I am so desperate for good leadership in this country I can’t tell you. Leadership that’s not governed by the dollar. Leadership that can see further than a next election.

        • Posted 28 January 2016 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

          I am as well.. how do we move beyond the economic model of ever infinite growth in a finite world? we all need to make a stand.

    2. Posted 28 January 2016 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      Thank you Marg- I am sharing this to all..

      • Marg
        Posted 28 January 2016 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

        Good on you Cath. Thanks.

    3. Posted 28 January 2016 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

      Marg, this is a wonderful and sobering blog post. It is not a small thing in a regional town to risk getting off-side with a major employer. I know from my discussions with so many people that they feel the same. It’s personal, this one. It’s a lot of water, it’s not much water, it’ll make a huge difference, it won’t make much difference – I’ve heard all this about the water going out of the Macquarie. But in the end it’s about the principle, not the details. The water is our commons. We don’t need the gold mine. We need the water. It’s the water we drink, shower in, flush the toilet with, grow things in … it is an organic, personal connection. We all live downstream of decisions like the one looming in February. I just hope we get it right.

      • Marg
        Posted 28 January 2016 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

        Me too Tracy. Me too. I thought long and hard about this one. It’s been bothering me for the past few weeks. And I know I’m not alone with my concerns. Nicely expressed on your part. And I agree. It’s the principle on this one. It’s what we as a community should stand up for. I’m not against mining. I’m really not. But I just have a very bad feeling about this proposal. There are too many uncertainties. Too many unknowns. How long is that piece of pipeline, sorry, string.

    4. Posted 28 January 2016 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

      There comes a moment in our careers as communication professionals when not supporting or manufacturing the spin will be the win for humanity and our environment. Congratulations Marg for your stand. Now our real work begins…

      • Marg
        Posted 28 January 2016 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Marje. Yes it will be a busy few weeks.

        • Posted 29 January 2016 at 11:31 am | Permalink

          Hi Marg,

          ‘WE ALL LIVE DOWNSTREAM’ is a powerful campaign slogan.
          🙂

          • Marg
            Posted 29 January 2016 at 11:44 am | Permalink

            Ain’t it just! I’d like to take credit for it but can’t. These are the guys…

    5. Helen Bergen
      Posted 28 January 2016 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Marg. Our planet and its environment, its forests and animals, its river and oceans, is in serious trouble. Everyone needs to support each other in saying no.

      • Marg
        Posted 28 January 2016 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

        My news feed on Facebook has become depressingly full of environmental tales and tragedies, big and small. Many, on our doorstep. I’ve realised you can’t take it all on. But you can step up in your own backyard. If this gives someone else a little bit of courage to express their concerns that’d be great. You’re right Helen, everyone needs to support each other in saying no.

    6. Richard Thompson
      Posted 28 January 2016 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

      Cheering, & Crying! You are such a beautiful and caring person! Thank you on behalf of the the entire Bathurst community. Your contribution will make a difference.
      Cheers,
      Richard

      • Marg
        Posted 28 January 2016 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

        I hope Richard. I hope so.

    7. Richard Thompson
      Posted 28 January 2016 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

      P S Can I buy that water color from you – just name the price?

      • Marg
        Posted 28 January 2016 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

        Yes. But see the whole thing first. This is a detail. 🙂

    8. Peter Simmons
      Posted 28 January 2016 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

      Well said Marg. So many uncertainties. If the only justifications for selling are economic, there are much better ways to achieve around 1% growth and jobs.

    9. Posted 29 January 2016 at 3:14 am | Permalink

      SO proud of you for speaking up!! I’m very glad at least one person is saying no, and I hope many more follow.

      • Marg
        Posted 29 January 2016 at 7:32 am | Permalink

        There are many others Krista. Hopefully there will be more 🙂

    10. Ann-Maree O'Beirne
      Posted 29 January 2016 at 4:20 am | Permalink

      Marg, thank you for this exceptionally poignant and clarifying article. You leave no stone unturned and your passion is delivered incisively. I hope that anyone who wants to understand the issues can find the time to read it.

      • Marg
        Posted 29 January 2016 at 7:36 am | Permalink

        Thanks Ann-Maree. It’s been simmering for a while now. For what it’s worth it broke all my behind-the-scenes records yesterday and the numbers are still rising so that’s a great sign that there is a lot of concern out there in the community. So many people sharing it – it’s really wonderful.

    11. Janeen O'Shea
      Posted 29 January 2016 at 7:14 am | Permalink

      Great and very brave blog Marg. It might interest you to know, C. Jess Jennings put out a press release yesterday calling for Regis to pay for the raising of the Dam wall as a way of providing them with the additional water they need. J

      • Marg
        Posted 29 January 2016 at 7:40 am | Permalink

        Thanks Janeen. I emailed a link to this piece to each of the nine councillors yesterday when I went live with it and I had a response from Jess Jennings that that was his intention. My first response was “Well, if we raise the dam wall won’t that further hurt downstream flows.” But Jess believes it will actually improve flows. I’ll be interested to learn more.

    12. Tracey
      Posted 29 January 2016 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      What I find incredulous is BRC refusing to dredge Raglan creek to save a FROG, but allow A QUARRY in the known habitat of Copperwing Butterfly, another RARE species, ALSO BRC emblem! This council seems devoid of any common sense and is obviously driven by AVARICE. That BRC would contemplate selling water only confirms this. Disgraceful.

    13. Marg
      Posted 29 January 2016 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      Well that’s something else I’ve learnt. I didn’t know the copperwing was out that way.

    14. Geraldine
      Posted 29 January 2016 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

      Marg you are an absolute gem – wonderfully presented as always. Thank you.

      • Marg
        Posted 29 January 2016 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Geraldine 🙂

    15. Tina scott
      Posted 30 January 2016 at 7:19 am | Permalink

      A well written document with undeniable implications. After having several discussions with local produce providers this will mean dire consequences. Not only does that water provide a sustainable water level in the Macquarie but also sustains the ecology in a much wider scope. Take that water and watch the Macquarie become stagnant and die, the living ecosystem around it DIE because water levels can’t be maintained. With our weather hitting more extremes we cannot afford to gamble with our precious resources in the name of self indulging money grabbers. It won’t help our economy it won’t help our environment it is a quick dash for cash at the cost of our local environment. I say to all Bathurst councillors SHAME, SHAME,SHAME.

      • Marg
        Posted 30 January 2016 at 9:27 am | Permalink

        Hi Tina. I think what’s emerging here is a principle. It’s kind of like drawing a line in the sand and saying are we going to go down this path … or this path? Just because our neighbouring regions have allowed mining or suffered from its impact, doesn’t mean that Bathurst has to follow the same path. Look at the Hunter, look at Orange (where they’ve just announced the loss of 400 jobs), Lithgow, Mudgee… We have a choice here. We are not desperate for money to fuel economic growth. I keep asking myself WHY are we considering this?

        • Marg
          Posted 30 January 2016 at 9:29 am | Permalink

          It’s like someone’s dangling this golden carrot and there’s a pressure to grab it. As a friend said during the week ‘Not all progress is good progress.” We don’t have to grab everything at the buffet.

    16. Diane Agustin
      Posted 30 January 2016 at 7:34 am | Permalink

      Just thinking … I remember Joe Bejelki-Petersen as QLD Premier, when companies wanted to mine coal. He said “OK”, but first you have to build a town to house all the miners and their families. Which they did as part of the agreement to mine. Perhaps This mining company could be asked to cover the cost of raising Ben Chifley Dam’s wall and all the infrastructure that goes with it, as their part of the agreement to buy water off BRC. Thereby increasing the Dam’s capacity. Could this be a win/win situation? Just considering. I don’t want the Macquarie River to dry up either.

      • Marg
        Posted 30 January 2016 at 9:36 am | Permalink

        Hello Di. Long time. Hope you and yours are well. I don’t think raising the wall is the solution to the fundamental issue of denying the river water. It might be. I’m open to all conversations at this point. But I just don’t get it. Water is still going to be syphoned off to the gold mine. And why does Bathurst feel it has the right to cache more water from the Macquarie anyway? If I lived downstream I’d be angry. We’re caretakers of this river. I keep thinking of the Whanganui River case in New Zealand. If only ….
        http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2012/09/04/a-river-in-new-zealand-gets-a-legal-voice/

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