Co-op appeals for public help
THE operator of the Casino Meatworks has turned up the heat in its dispute with the Richmond Valley Council over the price the co-operative pays for water.
In full page advertisements which appear in today's Northern Star and this week's Richmond River Express Examiner, also published today, the Northern Co-operative Meat Company has appealed directly to Richmond Valley residents in a statement seeking their support in the dispute.
The co-op and the council became embroiled in a bitter stoush in March when the council decided to increase the price it charged the co-op for water from 69 cents a kilolitre to $1.70.
The council has since agreed to reduce that rate to $1.19, but according to the co-op's statement and general manager Gary Burridge, the price remained unsustainably high and risked the viability of the meatworks.
Titled "A Fair Deal on Water - An Appeal for Your Support" the public statement makes several claims in relation to the dispute.
Among other things, the co-op claimed the decision risked jobs and businesses in the area plus property values and local services.
The co-op also claimed residential water rates in the Richmond Valley would increase by 35% if the co-op withdrew from the council supply.
The statement calls on Richmond Valley residents to write to the council in support of the co-op and includes a pro-forma statement for the purpose.
Mr Burridge said the co-op had decided to take the "unprecedented step" of appealing direct to residents following the council's recent release of a public exhibition document relating to the dispute.
"We felt the council's public discussion document was biased, prejudiced and misleading and it fell well short of fully informing the community of all the facts," Mr Burridge said.
"We hope the community will gain a full appreciation of what can only be described as a very complex situation."
Mr Burridge also said the co-op did not want the community holding the co-op responsible for increased residential water charges.
WILL YOU SUPPORT THE CO-OP IN ITS DISPUTE WITH COUNCIL?
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