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Essential Energy target of tirade from Cr Williamson

The Nymboida Power Station has sat idle since 2013.
The Nymboida Power Station has sat idle since 2013. Tim Howard

ESSENTIAL Energy's inaction on the Regional Water Supply Heads of Agreement is a "bloody disgrace”, says Clarence Valley councillor Richie Williamson.

"This will be the last time that I vote for noting the report, if there is no action on Essential Energy's part, next time I will be moving that we rip up the MoU (memorandum of understanding),” he said.

"It is a complete waste of paper, it is a complete waste of this council's time and Essential Energy has shown total disrespect to the council, to the local member who is also a signatory of the MoU, but most importantly Essential Energy, in their inaction, have shown total disrespect to our community.”

During the 2013 major flood in the Clarence Valley, the Nymboida Power Station suffered a catastrophic failure when one of the two pipes which drew water out of the Nymboida River blew from the pressure of flood waters.

That was the beginning of the end for the hydro plant, which was closed in 2013.

In 2015, Clarence Valley Council, the Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis and Essential Energy signed an agreement which stated who was responsible for several structures in the area.

This included land used by the Nymboida Canoe Centre, seven timber bridges across the Goolang Creek and Nymboida weir - all of which are owned by Essential Energy.

The Clarence Valley's main water supply was also tied up with issues surrounding the canoe centre.

Mayor Richie Williamson
Mayor Richie Williamson Adam Hourigan

Cr Williamson was mayor when the agreement was signed, and at Tuesday's council meeting he made it clear the issues highlighted in the Regional Water Supply Heads of Agreement needed to be acted on.

"The community are waiting for action on several fronts,” he said.

"There are bridges in desperate need of repair that are vital to their property, the Nymboida canoe centre is in limbo over the title of their land.

"I believe it should be noted, Mr Mayor, by this council and I don't think this council can, for much longer, show any respect to the MoU that was signed by this council in good faith,” he said.

"This happened in 2013, here we are nearly 2018 and nothing has happened. Essential Energy have sat on their hands, have not progressed the issues that need to progressed. Only they can progress them.”

Cr Williams thoughts were echoed by Cr Karen Toms who said "It's about time we took a stand, I agree it's disgraceful.”

Chris Gulaptis said the issue had gone on for too long and he would make attempts to get the ball rolling once again.

"I guess this is what happens when you've got multiple interests in a piece of infrastructure (the power station), and that piece of infrastructure has got some serious problems and no one wants to be responsible for fixing it,” he said.

Essential Energy acting general manager asset management Peter Bereicua said they were continuing discussions with the council around the transfer of ownership of the Nymboida Power Station water licences and assets associated with the water supply for Grafton and Coffs Harbour.

"In line with the intent of the Heads of Agreement signed by the parties in 2015, Essential Energy is undertaking agreed preparatory works in relation to the remaining water supply assets, including the re-mediation of timber bridges downstream of the power station and necessary engineering works,” he said.

"Essential Energy acknowledges that there have been some delays in getting competitive pricing from the market for the re-mediation of the bridges, however, project costs have now been confirmed and approved. Essential Energy will continue to provide updates to Clarence Valley Council as the project progresses.”



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