Water woes are nearly over

URBENVILLE, Muli Muli and Woodenbong residents can expect to have clean water by September, when their long-awaited water treatment plant is finally complete.

However, while Urbenville resident Colleen Schofield said she would not miss the 'brown water with its terrible odour', she wasn't happy Urbenville people would be hit with a significantly greater increase in their water rates than those in Muli Muli and Woodenbong – both in the Kyogle Council area.

Because Urbenville is part of the Tenterfield Shire, which does not have a unified rating structure, Urbenville residents will have their water rates almost doubled from 66 cents a kilolitre to $1.16 cents a kilolitre.

Director of corporate services at Tenterfield Shire Council, Jim Gossage, confirmed the rate increase was approved to help fund the $2.76m plant.

Mrs Schofield said she wasn't happy about the decision, considering the town hadn't had access to potable water for 40 years.

“Why should we be pay more for water, when we have been paying about $140 a year for water we can't use for a long time,” she said.

“We even had to pay for our own water tanks.”

Kyogle Council Mayor Ernie Bennett, who committed to completing the water treatment plant when his fellow councillors re-elected him as mayor last September, said a water rate increase of about 4 per cent would apply to residents across the Kyogle shire to help pay for their share of the join project.

Cr Bennett said the treatment plant was only affordable because the Kyogle and Tenterfield councils had joined forces for the project.

He said receiving State Government funding last September to cover half the costs had also made the project viable, although he wished it had all happened sooner.

“I'm not pointing the finger at anyone, it's just that the process takes such a long time. But it is hard to explain to a member of the community why it's been such a slow process. However, we had to do a lot to get everything signed off,” he said.

It took eight years to finalise a tender for the treatment plant.

Once complete, the three communities will have high-quality potable water

After 40 years of having water so bad it was once mistaken for the beef extract drink Bonox at a water quality meeting, Ms Schofield said even when the new plant was built she wouldn't be taking clean water for granted.

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