A 3D model of the porposed Dunoon dam, part of a digital map created by Rous County Council.
A 3D model of the porposed Dunoon dam, part of a digital map created by Rous County Council.

Community wants longer to discuss controversial dam project

ROUS County Council will meet this Friday to decide on a possible extension to the public exhibition of its Future Water Project 2060 plan.

The extraordinary meeting will be held this Friday morning from 9am and will be streamed online from the council's website.

Public exhibition of the 600+ page document is to end on August 12, after a six-week consultation period.

Rous confirmed they had received several requests to consider an extension of the public exhibition and feedback process, due to the volume of information to review and the restrictions COVID is having on the community.

Rous County Council Chair Keith Williams, said he was pleased with the response to the Future Water Plan to date, and the fact that the community was "asking lots of interesting questions".

"Some councillors have received feedback that, due to current limitations on public gatherings, it has been harder than usual to collate community views into a formal submission," he said.

"I also appreciate that by presenting the data from all the options that Rous County Council has considered, that there is a lot of material to comprehend.

Cr Williams said it's not often a community plans 40 to 60 years into the future.

"We need to ensure that our future urban community of 150,000 people do not experience what we did in October last year - our main water storage falling 10 per cent in a month and little prospect of rain in the coming summer," he said.

"I want to ensure that we make robust decisions that the next generation don't live to regret."

The plan, which includes a number of options for securing future water supply for the area, includes topics such as possible drilling for underground water, desalination plants for the Byron Shire or the Ballina Shire, reclaim of waste water and the option to build a new dam in Dunoon.

Given the current restrictions to mass gatherings, Rous County Council published a 3D model of the Northern Rivers that shows the proposed options for water security, including the possible dam.

In the meantime, some residents have voiced serious concerns over the possible dam in particular.