The 4350water Blog highlights some of the issues relating to proposals for potable reuse in Toowoomba and South East Qld. 4350water blog looks at related political issues as well.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Toowoomba Regional Council's secret meetings over wastewater treatment plant debacle ...

The Chronicle:

Cass labels 'purchase' an 'absolute disgrace'

15 July 2009

Lawyers have been brought in to sort out a conflict over the location of the western regional waste water treatment plant, which has already cost ratepayers about $1 million.

Former Jondaryan Shire Council CEO Noel Cass has called a failure to buy a site chosen for the plant an “absolute disgrace” and a “complete waste of public money”.

The issue involves a block of farmland in Westbrook.

The lot was chosen as the site of a new, $8 million sewage treatment plant to service Westbrook, Glenvale, Charlton and the western suburbs of Toowoomba.

Jondaryan councillors, led by Mayor Peter Taylor, voted in January 2007 to buy about 14 hectares for nearly $900,000.

A $200,000 deposit was paid; $20,000 of this was non-refundable, along with interest from the remaining $180,000.

Mr Cass said the purchase came after the spending of “well over $1 million on planning, studies and consultants” which confirmed the block was in the correct location and addressed Environmental Protection Agency regulations.

What happened next?

It depends on who you ask.

The sale never went through.

Amalgamation happened.

And lawyers have been hired by the owner of the block to negotiate with the new Toowoomba Regional Council over the failed contract.

A council spokeswoman said the project was not approved by the EPA and the “arrangement (with the land holder) is at an end”.

This is disputed by Mr Cass.

“EPA matters are and were a red herring.

“We addressed those concerns in the early days. Any EPA hesitation in later days was only because of representation from other councils,” he said.

Sources have told The Chronicle the council had been paying between $5000 and $7500 a month to hold the land.

That payment has been stopped, but the council will not confirm when it was halted or how much was paid monthly.

“No ongoing fees are being paid for the land,” the spokesperson said.

“TRC will not make further comment other than to say it is mindful that ratepayers' funds are not used to purchase land that can not be used for the intended purpose and can not deliver the desired outcomes to the community.”

Mayor Peter Taylor said he could not be “frank” about the situation, because it was now the subject of the legal dispute.

The owner of the land refused to comment other than to say the matter was in the hands of his lawyers.

Council discussed the matter in a committee meeting yesterday that was closed to the public.

See - The Chronicle - Cass labels 'purchase' an 'absolute disgrace'.

More secret meetings over wastewater treatment plants.

Did we all just wake up and it was 2005 all over again ...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is the mayor frank about anything? His standard response seems to be - I can't talk about it, it's in the hands of the state government, federal government, lawyers, just add any other excuse.

10:17 AM, July 15, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It always seems to me that when ever there is an important issue of which the citizens should be aware -they go into a closed meeting.
This is why this region should have a Ratepayers Association.
We need a watchdog to keep tabs an the "elected few".

Another big question of our councillors should be for them to qualify if the water being piped up from Wivenhoe Dam next year is water from the dam or is it processed sewage water from the Bundamba recycle plant?
It seems unusual that so far no jetty has been built at the site where supposedly we are to draw the water.
The pipeline running up to Tarong power station crosses our pipeline and that seems very convenient.

2:02 PM, July 16, 2009


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