Regulator Meetings, 18 June 2009

Two meetings, one at Goolwa and one at Clayton, were held 18 June organized by the SA government to discuss the construction of the new regulators. Here is a recount of each meeting by people who attended.

Goolwa 18 June, Alexandrina Council chambers 4:00pm

by Ken Jury, Goolwa

In Goolwa, the council chambers were packed to the rafters.

Dean Brown officiated. Basically, the session went at least 90 minutes and included a briefing by the various contractors including York Civil and the agencies DEH and DWLBC were represented.

In dealing with the question of remediation and the use of lime in the Currency, Brown offered that the entrance of Currency Ck to the channel has received a dosing of 2000 tonnes. That seemed a whole lot more than what we estimated.

DWLBC offered that inquiries concerning progress with the regulators could be answered by calling 08 82048605.

When completed, water will be pumped from Alexandrina into the channel at Clayton with pumps running day and night(reduced speed and noise at night).  They estimate that it will take 3 pumps, 8 weeks to move 27 gigalitres into the channel.

Interesting figure came up. DEH say that average river flows into Lake Alexandrina continue at 350 gigs/yr.

I tackled the question of remediation by lime and how they had realised (in writing) that the dinki dump truck method was insufficient, and they now acknowledged the magnitude of the problem, hence the need for aerial spreading. I asked Russell Seaman of DEH about any test results from the aerial activity. I reminded them about this crisis having a wide focus, being the largest acid problem anywhere in the world(thats in their paperwork).  Seaman said that they were reasonably happy that the overhead treatment would be successful through alkalinity levels being increased.

There were several questions from the floor about the regulators, particularly with the Currency and Finniss and how predicted hills catchment run-off would likely not be enough to keep those systems alive. That led to a robust session on the subject of more farm dams being built, causing a reduction of water for the systems. Dean Brown had quite a lot to say about this including the fact that smaller dams were likely allowable but that it may well be that the farmers are not able to use the water in them due to individual allocation . 

Work on all structures will commence within the week. There will be some road restrictions and those wanting to see the Clayton structure in progress starting from the island, will only be able to do so from Clayton. 

Two quarries are involved. One on the island which means that they won't need to transport the rock over the bridge. The other is just NW of the main road above Currency Creek.

Clayton 18 June, Clayton Bay Community Hall 2:00pm

by Trevor Harden, Clayton Bay

In Clayton about 30 people attended in all.

The government gave a presentation that lasted about 20 minutes. 

The first question after the presentation finished, was along the lines of, "Why are you doing this to us?" - "who are you listening to? You are not listening to the community because we have told you what we think and you have taken no notice of us."

My comment was along the lines of, "I am a member of this community and I support what is being done - in fact I think it should have been done months ago - and there are many other members of our community who don't agree with the views put today, but would rather avoid the conflict generated by those who have problems with people who disagree with them.   

"The current situation is like life saving surgery which is not pleasant, but a heck of a lot better than the alternative - but we don't blame the surgeon for the illness - that would be ridiculous."

When can this meeting get back to its purpose of addressing what has to be done and not get diverted by arguments about why it is necessary?

This meeting at Clayton continues to show that a small, but aggressive, minority of the community continue to intimidate the free speech of the rest of the community.  Each of us has a right to be heard and a right to not be heckled or bullied.

Clayton 18 June, Clayton Bay Community Hall 2:00pm  by Sean Murphy of Goolwa

I asked Russell Seaman how much the grass seeding exercise was costing (he did not know), and wasn't it a waste of money and time when they will be covering it with water in six weeks time? 

Another person was deeply concerned about the closing off of Lake Albert regarding the extra silt caused through pumping and the dead fish similar to Lake Bonney. 

The main concern at this meeting was the regulators, and Dean Brown was only too pleased to arrange another meeting, (after all he held up the meeting by being 20 minutes late). 

The trip over to the Clayton meeting was quite interesting as I saw how quickly the new pipeline is going in, bad luck the government isn't just as quick with their decisions regarding The Lakes.