Sewerage delay for Clunes

John Drysdale has been waiting for more than a decade to see Clunes sewerage woes solved, so when he heard last week that work is likely to be deferred for another two to three years, he was deflated, but not surprised.

In December last year, after 12 years of debate, it was decided Clunes residents, who currently have individual septic systems, would all receive on-site wet composting systems to treat wastewater.

However, in a Council workshop last week it was revealed Lismore City Council could not afford to do both the Clunes works as well as upgrade the at-capacity Southern Trunk Main, which services Lismore and Goonellabah.

To enable new development in those areas, Council looks likely to defer works in Clunes and bring forward the upgrade of the Southern Trunk Main.

The matter is to be finalised at Council’s December meeting, when it will also be recommended that Council waive the $400p.a. levy Clunes residents have started paying until a decision is made on recommencement of the project.

“Deferring it for two years means effectively there won’t be anything in operation for five, which means it’ll be 20 years since this all started. In the meantime, what’s going to happen to people whose septics fail?” Mr Drysdale, who was a member of the Clunes Wastewater Committee for nine years, said. “We feel disappointed because we’ve been let down several times, but we do understand the Council’s financial situation.

“People are just starting to wonder if anything will ever happen; it will probably be something else next time. Because we’re a small community we always get put behind everything else.”

Clunes Progress Association member Rod Gibson said Council had a responsibility to assist residents until the on-site wastewater treatment works were completed.

“We feel the two most important things Council needs to do for the Clunes residents are to proceed as soon as possible to gain approval of an EIS (Environment Impact Statement) and whatever other planning and environmental approvals are necessary to ensure that the project can get going as soon as funds are available,” Rod said. “And to give an undertaking to Clunes residents that should there be a major failing of the existing septic systems in Clunes in the interim period, Council will come to their aid with worthwhile assistance (pump-outs, etc) and not just advise on what should be done and leave it to the residents to meet all costs.”

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