Sewer connection to be subsidised

Ballina shire residents in the pipeline for connection to the towns sewerage system have been given a helping hand after councillors decided to subsidise 80 per cent of the cost.

Residential properties at seven areas including Alstonville, Cumbalum and North Creek Road are being connected to the reticulated sewerage system at an estimated cost of over $12,000 per property under Ballina Shire Councils backlog sewer program.

The decision by Council late last month follows long deliberation over what costs, if any, residents who benefit from the reticulation and associated infrastructure works should pay.

The decision means landowners face a connection cost of around $500 a year over five years.

The resolution also excludes commercial properties from the subsidy.

During a public access session before councillors took the decision, Cumbalum resident Phil Meehan said residents faced a minimum $2000 cost even if Council met the full cost of connection, and any Council subsidy for the scheme was not a freebie.

But Alstonville resident Paul Worth argued against a Council subsidy, even though he was an affected landowner, saying other ratepayers should not have to bear the cost.

Cr Alan Brown said the 80 per cent subsidy was a very generous offer by Council given that many residents at the Council Chambers for the debate had lobbied for a 100 per cent subsidy.

Mayor Phil Silver said the issue highlighted how Council regularly struggled with the issue of community equity.

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