Paradise Dam.
Paradise Dam. Trish Beddows

Farmer storms out of 'waste of time' Paradise Dam meeting

A FARMER stormed out of a meeting which Paradise Dam's owners held at Wallaville Hall yesterday.

Attendees criticised the meeting by describing it "a waste of time" and a "shame", and attending Bundaberg  councillor Wayne Honor acknowledged "the spirits were very strained".

"The anger was very visible... once they realised the safety of the dam was addressed right now, they were willing to  listen and talk about options for (water) security and growth," Cr Honor, the council's environment and natural resources spokesman, said.

"It was a good feeling to be there with the community that was in solidarity about all of those issues, but they were respectful of the presence of Sunwater representatives."

Cr Honor confirmed a "disgusted" farmer left the meeting early.

Wayne Honor.
Wayne Honor. Max Fleet BUN220514NBP3

"He's not going to be able to see the beenfits of what was a big project fought for a long time, and it's now in jeopardy."

He said that Sunwater guaranteed the safety of residents. Cr Honor said that Wallaville's rural residents were seeking to use the free water that is leaving the dam, but to do so they would need to access a standpipe.

Cr Honor said there was no accessible standpipe close to Wallaville, and that the closest ones were at Childers and Bundaberg.

Sunwater representatives  said they would follow up with that concern.

"That is something that was quite heartfelt from the community, they are in a dire situation now and would like to share in that water in a convenient spot," Cr Honor said.

Wallaville resident Nola Offord said the focus of the meeting was about the community's safety.

"Well, the safety of Paradise Dam to me is the wall and the first questions asked by the general people was what was the condition of the wall?

"What's gone wrong with it. We're hearing all these rumours.

"Well, they couldn't answer anything we asked them.

"It was a big sham, and people were angry, absolutely angry, so we suggested to them perhaps they might get their act together, get their answers and call a correct meeting with a microphone so we could hear what they were saying," she said.

"They were whispering and we were a bit deaf."

A Sunwater spokesman did not acknowledge if there was tensions at the meeting, but said that 14 people attended the meeting,  which lasted over two hours.

"Sunwater's team answered a range of questions regarding dam safety, the essential work timeframes, water allocations and the availability of released water," the spokesman said.

South Kolan resident Des Messenger said "it was a waste of time going up there".

"They wouldn't answer any questions," Mr Messenger said.

"There was anger, I can tell you."

Mr Messenger said he had questions about the dam's construction, and wanted to see a sample of the concrete that was used.

Sunwater will hold another community consultation meeting in Bundaberg today.  It will be held from 9am to 11am at the Bundaberg School of Arts on Bourbong St. Another meeting will be held at the Gayndah Town Hall on Monday, from 5pm to 7.30pm.


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