Life deal ends ‘war' on water

A PERMANENT ceasefire has been declared in the water "war" between Richmond Valley Council and the Northern Co-operative Meat Company (NCMC).

The agreement, which is subject to formal council approval, was thrashed out between outgoing NCMC chief executive officer Gary Burridge and the council's new general manager John Walker.

It will see the NCMC source all of its potable water from council in perpetuity.

The price of water for the current year is to be set at 81 cents a kilolitre which is a 17.4% increase on the previous year's charges.

The two warring groups have also agreed on a pricing mechanism that should avoid any future disputes over water charges, and introduces a mechanism for resolution if conflict arises.

Richmond Valley Mayor Col Sullivan said it was a "great result".

"Resolving this issue was important for our community. Resolving it in a way where council recovers its costs and depreciation, and makes a responsible profit is good for us," he said.

NCMC chairman George Bennett said his organisation had always been happy to "pay a fair price for its water".

"The board of NCMC is delighted to have resolved this issue and looks forward to working with the council for the benefit of the community in the future," he said.

"We also recognise the benefit to the broader community of remaining the largest customer by far in the water system."



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