Black River connection Water win for rural residents
A DETERMINED group of rural landowners has emerged from their barren trenches with a small victory in the long-running Black River groundwater war.
Townsville City Council’s Water Business Committee has given the green light to six rural properties to connect to the Black River water main without requiring legal access to bore water under the Queensland Nickel Act 1970.
The rural residents have been forced to rely on rain, creek and carted water due to the legal restrictions associated with the legislation.
The conditions apply t o r ural properties of 40ha or less and with no access to underground bore fields or alternative water supply.
The approval will allow the group to lay a pipeline connection at their own cost to join to the council’s existing town water network at Geiseman Rd.
Council agreed to waive more than $ 46,000 in infrastructure charges associated with the proposal. Mayor Les Tyrell said council was forced to make the most of a difficult situation.
‘‘ This decision is good news for the property owners and finally provides a way for them around a long-running water access problem in the Black River area,’’ he said. ‘‘ The state legislation is in place and there’s nothing the council can do to change that.’’
Queensland Nickel has agreed to commit extra funding to help with organising pipeline infrastructure.
The organisation has been working with property owners to find a solution to supplying water to residents along Black River Rd.
Queensland Nickel general manager Trefor Flood said the company was committed to providing assistance to the neighbouring community.
‘ ‘ T h i s i s a r e a l wi n f o r o u r neighbours i n Black River, and Queensland Nickel is glad that we have been able to play a role and contribute to resolving this water access issue,’’ he said.
Black River water campaigner Bill Condon was hit by a flood of emotions when told of the announcement.
Mr Condon has led the property owners’ fight to access the underground water declared off limits since the former Bjelke-Petersen government enacted the agreement.
Mr Condon said the decision was a small victory in the ongoing battle.
‘‘ This is a small victory for the landowners involved and a great show of faith from Queensland Nickel,’’ he said. ‘‘ When the river level drops it is very difficult for these people to gain access to water so this is a great step in easing the pressure on them.’’