An open letter to Rod Smith, Regis Resources

river painting 2

Dear Rod,

It was a pity that you ducked away early from last night’s Council meeting.

Had you stayed after your presentation, you would have been able to put faces to the names of those who have voiced their various opinions – for and against – about your proposal to buy Bathurst’s recycled water which translates to denying 8-10 million litres of water a day from the Macquarie (Wambool) River.

Had you stayed, as the full chamber of residents did, listening with interest to a record breaking, vibrant, feisty, public question time and waiting for the Council vote, you would have heard a wide range of concerns, issues and experiences. And yes, you would have felt our passion, our emotion.

In your submission you caution Council to be wary of emotive opposition, but we, as residents, as ratepayers, tree changers, fisherman, business owners, and proud Bathurstians all, we are the ones who choose to stay rather than blow through, and we have every right to be passionate about this issue.

This is our home.

The river is our lifeblood.

 

So let me caution you Rod.

 

Bathurst is a region with smarts. It’s a region with talents. A region of creatives. Of academics. Of people who know and understand the land. It’s a region with history and heritage and a seductive landscape that creeps into your soul and the Macquarie (Wambool) lies at the centre of it all. So when you visit our home I would ask that you treat it, and us, with respect.

People have told me during the week that it’s standard practice for mining companies to offer sweeteners to local businesses and organisations. It might be standard practice but that does not make it honourable.

I assume now, Regis’s energies will be focused on delivering up an Environmental Impact Study to support your DA. An Environmental Impact Study that your company will commission and pay for.

Well, when that’s ready, we will still be here.

Ironically your proposal has brought us all together. And we are stronger for it. This campaign has reminded us what an eclectic, brilliant, egalitarian and resilient community Bathurst is. And when new people, and businesses, come to this region we want them to come – as Cr Jess Jennings said last night – as family.

The foundations are laid. Bathurst is drawing a line in the sand Rod. We’re suggesting it’s time the mining juggernaut in this country learnt where the brakes are. And in the years to come we hope Bathurst will be known as the region that stopped the runaway mining freight train.

 

We all learnt something last night.

Had you stayed you would have learnt it too.

It’s the Wiradyuri word for respect and go slowly.

Yindyamarra.

 

Yindyamarra Rod.

Have a good day.

 

Marg

 

To anyone interested, please join the Don’t Mine The Macquarie Facebook group.

    11 Comments

    The gold miner and the dragonfly … a modern day parable

    macquarie river sketch M.Hogan

    Macquarie River. From the sketchbook. M.Hogan

     

    “Will you sell me your river?” the gold miner asked the dragonfly.
    “Where would I live?” asked the dragonfly.
    “On another river,” said the gold miner.
    “I don’t have another river,” said the dragonfly, “This is the only river I have.”

    “Will you sell me your river?” the gold miner asked the frogs.
    “Where would we live?” asked the frogs.
    “On another river,” said the gold miner.
    “We don’t have another river,” said the frogs, “This is the only river we have.”

    The gold miner went to the kangaroos, the platypus, the trout cod (who were particularly hard to find), the wild ducks, the tiny crustaceans, the river birds … he spoke to all the animals and asked them all the same question…

    “Will you sell me your river?”
    “Where would we live?” all the animals replied.
    “On another river,” said the gold miner.
    “We don’t have another river,” said the animals, “This is the only river we have.”

    The gold miner was getting frustrated so he went to speak to the elders.

    “Will you sell me your river?” the gold miner asked the Wiradyuri elders.
    “Where would we live?” asked the elders.
    “On another river,” said the gold miner.
    “Another Wambool?” asked the elders. “There isn’t another Wambool. This is the only Wambool we have.”

    “Hmmm,” thought the gold miner. “I know what I’ll do. I’ll go to the Council.”

    “Will you sell me your river?” the gold miner asked the councillors.

    And all of a sudden the river went quiet and every living creature that lived along the river listened intently to what they would say…

     

    Two conversations from the week.

    An acquaintance …

    “I’m thinking of leaving Bathurst.”
    “Where would you go?” I asked, a little stunned.
    “To somewhere where they have no environment.”
    “What do you mean?” I asked.
    “To somewhere where they’ve completely screwed up their environment, where there is no environment left, where they’ve realised the error of their ways, and where they want to rebuild the environment. That’s where I’d go.”

     

    Dinawan Dyirribang, Wiradyuri elder…

    “It’s our life blood because the rivers and creeks are like the veins in your body … they carry blood so you survive … the water that comes down our rivers and creeks does the same thing.”

    Please don’t defer the vote on Wednesday councillors.
    Please protect the Macquarie (Wambool) River and everything that lives along it.
    For now and future generations.

    Please vote no.

    ….

    I’d be grateful if you’d share this one. Two days and counting …

      11 Comments

      Throwing a light on Bathurst’s environmental future …

      So time is ticking away till Bathurst Regional Council’s important February 17 decision about whether to deny the Macquarie River 10 million litres of its recycled effluent every day for the next 10 years or more… and instead, sell it to a goldmine … in Blayney.

      Despite the concerns that Council might vote yes on the 17th, I’ve been musing in recent days about the benefits of Council being thrown into the spotlight on this one.

      Because going forward, it would be wonderful to know where Bathurst Regional Council really stands on the environment. I mean really stands on the environment.

      The Fish River

      Work in progress. Detail from The Fish River. M.Hogan

      The following ad did the rounds on Council’s Facebook site prior to Australia Day to the amusement/bemusement of many. And Tracy Sorenson rightly asked at last week’s Council meeting “It’s all very well for us to wash our lettuce in the sink rather than under a running tap … and not splash about too much when we’re in the pool … but can you please explain how Council’s Waterwise policy lines up with the proposal to sell 10 million litres of Macquarie River water to a gold mine in Blayney?”

      BRC Waterwise ad

      A friend of mine said later in the week “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our leaders instead of feeling like they’ve always got to be right, could actually just listen, pause, cut the spin and say “You know Tracy, you’re absolutely right. It doesn’t fit. It is a nonsense. We need to look at this from a wider perspective.”

      On the Don’t Mine the Macquarie Facebook page someone highlighted Council’s 2036 Community Strategic Plan and posted a screenshot of page 6 from the plan which outlines the strategic goals for our environmental sustainability.

      Note that the Community Strategic Plan “is the highest level plan that a Council must prepare.”  

      2036 BRC Community Strategic Plan

      • To protect and enhance … the Macquarie River.
      • To protect and enhance the region’s biodiversity.
      • To protect and enhance water quality and riparian ecology.
      • To secure a sustainable water supply and raise awareness on water issues.

      There are many, many good people who work for Bathurst Regional Council at all levels and none of this is intended to undermine the good work that they do for this region. Truly, it is a gorgeous place to live and Council and its staff play a huge part in making it so.

      I’m posting these as a reminder because sometimes our loftiest goals can get lost in a drawer.

      What do we stand for environmentally in Bathurst?

      Can we take a different path to those around us?

      Think back to the speaker last week who has owned a house in Bathurst for the past seven years while living in Sydney. For those seven years she has received Council’s quarterly newsletters and read about Council’s green initiatives with interest. And on the strength of that, four weeks ago, she made the move here. Three weeks later she found herself at a council meeting nervously stepping up to basically say WTF? Have I been sold a lemon?

      And just on that note, can I make a final comment about courage.

      I was sitting a metre or two behind all the speakers at last week’s council meeting, watching their bodies shake with fear and their hands tremble. It does take courage to step up and speak in front of a large audience when you’re not used to it.

      It also takes courage to stand on a river with a lonely handful of supporters holding hand made banners. It takes courage to stand in front of the local newspaper with those same supporters and a good few more. It takes courage to be the dissenting voice. To be viewed as the one who stirs up trouble. When others get a bit squirmy, feeling uncomfortable in front of a newspaper or tv camera, Tracey Carpenter is always the first to step up to the plate for our local environment. And whether you agree with her politics or not (Tracey ran for The Greens at our last state election) I for one, admire her courage.

      Let there be more of it I say. It’s healthy. It’s robust. It’s called democracy. And aren’t we lucky to have it.

      See you on the 17th.

      If you haven’t already, please consider signing the petition by clicking here.

      Overseas friends please bear with us till this plays out. Our normal blogging program will resume shortly 😉

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