Monday, December 15, 2008

pipeline pressure continues

Me and Lorraine Leach (member of c4 Healesville) holding a sprig of Round Leaf Pomaderris, a critically endangered plant with only 100 mature specimens known to exist in the Toolangi - Castella region, right in the path of the pipeline. Its future is threatened by the construction of the pipeline.

Sunday saw the ongoing campaign to highlight issues around the construction of the North South pipeline to people who live in the city of Melbourne. To date the campaign has been driven by the community in rural areas. Plug the Pipe are doing a great job, now Friends of the Earth have joined the campaign to raise awareness in the city.

I was joined by approximately 50 other people from around the district to see for myself the destruction already caused by works on the pipeline. The works are an environmental disaster and present as a harsh scar on the landscape. In an area of forest under a special protection zone (SPZ) the vegetation has been cleared to bare dirt. It is a conservation tragedy and even more tragic given the still unproven water savings the project will deliver.

Council is opposed to the construction of the pipeline until claimed water savings can be demonstrated. Back in February, 2008 council resolved:
Sugarloaf Interconnector Pipeline
Resolved on the motion of Crs McRae and Dunn
The State Government and Federal Government be advised that we oppose the construction of the Sugarloaf Pipeline Interconnector project until claimed water savings can be demonstrated.
A report providing a synopsis of the environmental, social and economic impacts for the Shire be prepared by officers and presented to the next Council Meeting.
A division was called.
For: Crs Dunn, Avery, Keane, Cliff and McRae
Against: Crs Smith, Warren, Cox and Heenan

We still haven’t had a sufficient response from government and yet without any real evidence of water savings construction has begun with untold consequences for the social fabric of our communities and to the detriment of our natural environment.

There are many alternatives to securing water for Melbourne, the most simple, water tanks. Melbourne receives 5 times the water it uses, it literally goes down the drain. Other options include upgrades to the Eastern Treatment and Western Treatment Plants, stormwater harvesting and of course ceasing logging in Melbourne’s water catchments. Whilst our government continues to concentrate on building massive infrastructure at a huge cost to the taxpayer, the environment and climate change, our water security is being squandered.

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