Lucy Campeanu, Joy Baker, Glen Baker, Xavier Jablonski and Steve Ambrose want to see an end to commercial water extraction licences in the Tweed.
Lucy Campeanu, Joy Baker, Glen Baker, Xavier Jablonski and Steve Ambrose want to see an end to commercial water extraction licences in the Tweed. Aisling Brennan

Mayor Milne calls to stop commercial water extraction

TWEED Shire Council will seek advice from the New South Wales Office of Water about several contentious proposals to extract groundwater in the shire for commercial purposes.

This decision comes after Mayor Katie Milne called on the council to urgently amend legislation in order to prohibit commercial water extraction from all rural zoned land in the Tweed Shire.

The council is currently assessing a development application for commercial water extraction on a Rowlands Creek Rd property, which has faced public outcry from Uki residents.

Another two DAs at Urliup and Dulguigan are also under consideration.

Councillors on Thursday rejected Cr Milne's original proposal to rescind Clause 7.15 of the Tweed LEP, which would remove the permissibility of water bottling facilities in the RU2 Rural Landscape Zone.

Instead, councillors voted 4:3 in favour of Cr Reece Byrnes' amendment to seek the advice of the NSW Office of Water about the issue.

"I believe the science is there it is renewable and sustainable,” Cr Byrnes said.

"I know people in the Office of Water and they say the water extraction is sustainable.

"There is fact and there is science. I'd like council to hear from the Office ofWater.”

Matthew Karlos, whose family has held a commercial licence to extract water from their Urliup Rd property since 2002, said he was pleased the council had decided to seek advice from the Office of Water.

"I find it disturbing that water extraction may be questioned as an illegitimate rural industry,” Mr Karlos said.

"We don't mind scrutiny so long as it's founded by fact, which nothing that I've seen from either the public or council in terms of opposition to this has any fact or substance whatever.”

Rowlands Creek Rd resident Trevor White said during the community access meeting he believed rural roads, especially Rowlands Creek Rd, were unable to handle heavy-duty trucks.

"This amount of heavy truck movements in the shire is bound to take its toll,” he said.

"There are vulnerable points along Rowlands Creek Rd, which probably wouldn't be able to handle the weight of these trucks.”

Cr Ron Cooper said the council was responsible for maintaining the safety of rural roads.

"I don't think I've heard we can find an accurate measurement of the damage on the roads,” he said.

But Mr Karlos said the council needed to consider that "rural roads are there to serve rural industries”.