Monday, August 02, 2010

water bottling – the trucks continue

report from the roundtable – 27 jul

This week council had to consider an amendment to a planning
application at a water bottling plant in the Don Valley.

The plant was approved some time ago (2005) but recent non compliant activity forced the company to apply for an amendment to their permit to distribute ‘bulk’ water from the site via water tankers. The matter is currently before VCAT so council was deciding on a position to put to VCAT.

A lot of the recommendation centred around truck movements but to me, the key issue was whether to allow bulk water to be transported off the site. In arguing to refuse the amendment to the permit I tried to highlight the importance of not allowing bulk water off the site.

It is bad enough that bottled water has been approved, but to remove bulk water is even more detrimental. Currently the modest nature of the bottling plant limits the amount of water currently trucked off site. The plant is currently licensed to extract 62 megalitres (62 million litres!) from a bore, but bottling slows this process of extraction down. The water, managed by Southern Rural Water, is sold off at dirt cheap rates. It’s scandalous that our precious resources are managed so poorly.

It is not an environmentally sustainable business and has serious consequences for the water table and stream flow in the Don River.

The Don Road is a winding road, with no line marking or footpaths, kids walk on it to get home from school and it has deep ditches, it beggars belief that Vic Roads had no issues with trucks, including semi trailers, using this section of the road.

I couldn’t support the motion, I thought our strength was refusing to accept bulk water transport. A division was called so the way councillors voted was publicly recorded.

For: Crs Templer, Warren, Higgins, Avery and Cox
Against: Crs Dunn, McRae, Heenan and Cliff

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