CSG Communities strategy co-ordinator Annie Kia (front) is joined by fellow residents of The Channon who are banding together to oppose CSG mining in the village and surrounds.
CSG Communities strategy co-ordinator Annie Kia (front) is joined by fellow residents of The Channon who are banding together to oppose CSG mining in the village and surrounds. Cathy Adams

Nuclear-free to gas-free

IN the 1980s many councils and communities declared themselves nuclear-free zones; a generation later many of those same communities want to be CSG-free.

Public opposition to coal-seam gas mining took a different turn at The Channon on Saturday.

Acting on the near-unanimous vote at a public meeting and response to a comprehensive household survey, the residents plan to put "This road is gas field-free" signs on roads around the village.

Annie Kia, co-ordinator of the CSG-free communities strategy, said it was a pilot for action to be spread across the Northern Rivers.

"People will not tolerate this incursion of gas-field development," she said.

"We had only one dissenting voice to this proposal at a meeting of about 120 people at The Channon hall.

"We followed that up with a survey of nearly every household in the area and of the 432 respondents, two said no, one was unsure and 429 said yes.

"This shows that Arrow Energy has no social contract. It exists in their minds only."

The Gas field-free signs would reflect the opinions of people who lived there and apply to lands and communities along those roads.

Ms Kia said Lismore City Council had already banned seismic exploration on road reserves and that her group was talking to the council about putting up the signs.

"We want to close these roads to CSG," she said.

"The idea is spreading fast.

"About 70 attended a meeting at Dunoon and meetings are planned for Rosebank and Dorroughby.

"There has also been interest from opponents to CSG mining at Kyogle, Drake, Nimbin, Goolmangar and Mt Nardi."

Residents of The Channon and Keerrong will gather for a Celebration of Community at The Channon oval on Saturday, April 14.

"We are determined to send a strong message to Arrow Energy, which has the exploration licence.

"The creeks and roads will be drawn on the oval then residents will stand on their 'roads'.

"They will hand their road declaration scrolls down each road, like Olympic torches, to be presented to Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell."

A concert and afternoon tea will follow, with residents asked to bring folding chairs or picnic rugs and be there before 1.30pm.

Supporters from outside the village should arrive by 2pm for the ceremony starting at 2.30pm.



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