BENTLEY and the surrounding area was declared "gasfield-free" yesterday after a survey of residents found 86 per cent did not want local land and roads turned over to gas mining.
The Declaration Day was an opportunity for the Bentley community to show their commitment to keeping the area gasfield free, according to Rosemary Joseph, secretary of Bentley Gate Keepers community group.
The declaration took place at the Bentley Community Hall and more than 200 people attended, Ms Joseph said.
Kyogle Mayor Danielle Mulholland, Lismore Deputy Mayor Isaac Smit, and Richmond Valley Deputy Mayor Daniel Simpson were on hand to receive the declarations from members of their communities.
The door-to-door survey of residents across the Bentley Valley asked if they supported, were unsure, or against gas field developments in the area.
The question was straightforward and unbiased, Ms Joseph said.
"An overwhelming 86.5 per cent of the community was against gas development, which was in line with other communities that have declared themselves gasfield free across the Northern Rivers," she said.
Anti-coal seam gas organisations are encouraging as many communities as possible to declare themselves gasfield free.
It is part of a wider strategy to have the whole Northern Rivers declared gasfield free, Ms Joseph said.
The area covered by the declaration extends from the Lismore end of Bentley Rd through to Kyogle, but also includes parts of Manifold Rd and Naughtons Gap Rd in the Casino Shire, she said.
"This is a very significant occasion for the local community who came together so strongly with other communities across the wider Northern Rivers region, to save this beautiful and productive valley during the recent Bentley campaign and blockade," she said.
The Declaration Day included music from Luke Vassella, Jeremy White, Monkey and the Fish and the Bentley Blockade Choir.
Ian Gaillard and Wayne Somerville were guest speakers.
The Knitting Nannas also put on a song and dance rendition of I Will Survive.
Ms Joseph said the survey was put on hold during the Bentley Blockade, and had only recently been completed.
The coastal town of Yamba in the Clarence Valley was now being surveyed she said.
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