Council party on the nose
IT WASN'T the smell of sewage that got up the nose of Casino Ratepayers and Residents' Association president Owen Crawford on Saturday. It was the 'poo party' held by Richmond Valley Council to mark the opening of the controversial Evans Head Sewage Treatment Plant. About 60 people attended the grand-opening of the state-of-the-art-facility on Saturday morning, an event for which council set aside $11,000. But protesters outside the gates of the facility held their own 'poo party' to 'show their disgust' at Richmond Valley Council. "It is an absolute waste of money," Mr Crawford said. "Councillors are saying it's the biggest thing that's happened in 10 years. "So what? Do they need to have a party?" A Richmond Valley Council spokesman said the money spent on the ceremony was significantly lower than budgeted. But Mr Crawford said the fact $11,000 had been made available for the opening was bad enough especially since Richmond Valley residents had been slugged with a 10 per cent rate rise. Evans Head resident Ian Drinkwater was more concerned with the environmental effects of the ocean outfall component of the plant. He said in a country as dry as Australia, councils should be recycling water, not sending it out to the ocean as the plant had been designed. Mr Drinkwater said he would think twice from now on before swimming at local beaches. "We're using our ocean as if it's a drain," he said "For example what effect is this going to have on the fish, which a lot of us eat?" The plant was built to service the current and future demands for waste water treatment in the Evans Head, Woodburn and Broadwater areas. At the ceremony Richmond Valley mayor Charlie Cox said the process had not been without its frustrations. But he said the opening of the $11.7 million plant represented an achievement by many people who had worked hard to make it happen. "I've been amazed at the technical knowledge of the people involved," he said. Construction of the plant began in August, 2006 by REED Constructions, and replaces the old plant which was unable to meet modern water quality standards.