Councillor urges Emu Swamp Dam supporters to act
EMU Swamp Dam champion Cr Vic Pennisi has one simple message for the project's backers: Now is the time to speak up.
In a presentation to the Stanthorpe Chamber of Commerce members on Friday, the longstanding councillor urged Granite Belt residents to contact their local, state or federal MPs expressing either their support or concerns.
"We all have a role to play in this," he said.
Cr Pennisi said Emu Swamp Dam was the only viable option for a second Granite Belt water supply, and that moving from the site at this stage would result in the issue losing its state significance.
"Many submissions have been received with concerns, and all of those concerns have been addressed," he said.
"It's time that those who support this project are now heard."
The environmental impact statement (EIS) process has been arduous since the initial application for Emu Swamp Dam was submitted by the Stanthorpe Shire Council just over eight years ago.
In a recent boost though, the dam was placed on a Federal Government shortlist of future projects.
A report on the EIS is now being completed by the state's co-ordinator general.
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He highlighted both the dam's benefits to the region and the obstacles that it needed to overcome.
"The bottom line is that food producers are the most important people on earth - we simply can't ignore this issue," Cr Pennisi said.
"I am very committed to deliver this, but the big showstopper is money."
Also among Emu Swamp Dam's support group is Stanthorpe strawberry farmer Wally Sweet.
"We badly need more where we are," Mr Sweet said.
"We're really scratching around at the moment."
Mr Sweet, who owns Sweet's Strawberry Runners, said if water shortage continued then he may need to scale back his business.
"It's a matter of keeping people in jobs," he said.
But if the dam is to be built then the water must be affordable, Mr Sweet said.
"We can't be paying exorbitant prices," he said.
Chamber of Commerce president John Bylicki said Emu Swamp Dam would be supported by the chamber "wherever possible".
"It's very simple - we can't ignore it," he said.
"We will try to help get it across the line."
"Yes there are concerns, but at the end of the day we need the water," Mr Bylicki said.
- Where: Approx 15km South-West of Stanthorpe
- Size: Estimated storage between 10,000-12,000 ML. To provide for both urban water and irrigation needs.
- More info on the EIS process can be found through: www.dsdip.qld.gov.au/