Toasting the end of a saga
By EMMA O'NEILL and JOYCE MARSH A WHITE shirt and a glass of clean water doesn't sound like much compensation for eight years of disputes involving local bodies and the State Government.
However, this is what residents of Woodenbong, Urbenville and Muli Muli will enjoy in September when a long-awaited water treatment plant is expected to open.
During the recent Kyogle Council meeting a motion was moved to accept DAs for the plant at a site in the Tenterfield Council area.
The decision comes after eight years of negotiation involving Kyogle and Tenterfield councils, the Muli Muli Aboriginal Council, and the State Government for approval and funding of the project.
Kyogle mayor Ernie Bennett confirmed the long-awaited water treatment plant was only affordable because Kyogle Shire had joined forces with Tenterfield Council.
"We started making promises for this plant a long time ago, but there have been so many delays. It's great that we can finally tell people it will be built by September," he said.
"Now that we know where the site is going, and how much each council is going to contribute, we are finally at a point where we can approach the State Government for a 50 per cent subsidy."
Cr Bennett said it had been common knowledge among locals for a long time that%water from taps in the region did not meet national health guidelines.
"Water from the tap is discoloured and has a stench to it," he said.
"The state of water in this area was one of the reasons I ran for council.
"This plant will mean people in the area will not only be able to drink the water.
"It will also mean residents will be able to wash their white shirts without them turning yellow because of the water."
It also means that a glass of water from the region will no longer be mistaken for Bonox, as it was at restaurant in Woodenbong during a meeting about water quality a few years ago. Cr Bennett said that once the plant was complete the council would also take responsibility for providing water to each home in Muli Muli.
"At the moment there are about 30 residents in Muli Muli getting water from one access point from the mains water supply.
"The distribution of water once the plant is built will be a lot cleaner, and a lot fairer," he said.