Black River con­nec­tion Wa­ter win for ru­ral res­i­dents

Townsville Bulletin - - Inside Today - by Ryan Mathe­son ryan. mathe­son@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

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.’’

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