Gee's bid to reassure Needles Gap dam objectors with meeting

BATTLE lines drawn between supporters of the proposed Needles Gap dam and objectors need to be pulled down because a divisive attitude is not helpful, says member for Orange Andrew Gee.

BATTLE lines drawn between supporters of the proposed Needles Gap dam and objectors need to be pulled down because a divisive attitude is not helpful, says member for Orange Andrew Gee.

BATTLE lines drawn between supporters of the proposed Needles Gap dam and objectors need to be pulled down because a divisive attitude is not helpful, says member for Orange Andrew Gee. 

On Friday Mr Gee met with two landholders whose properties would be partially-inundated by the proposed $150 million, 90,000 megalitre dam along the Belubula River and said he understood their concerns.

“They have questions and they want answers, but until we know more there isn’t much we can say,” he said. 

A $1 million feasibility study was funded as part of the state budget last week and Mr Gee said the study would be undertaken in an inclusive way. 

The number of landholders affected by the project is not yet known because the level of the water is not yet known. 

In the meantime, Mr Gee said he would organise a meeting between Needles Gap landholders and representatives from Water NSW so the research and information compiled on previous occasions, when the proposal had been floated, could be given to property owners. 

Panuara resident Ben Crossing, who could lose part of his property, said he thought Mr Gee was genuine when he said he would keep landholders informed and would fight for them to get the right compensation should the dam be built. 

“We just wanted him to come and have a look at where the dam would be, where the dam wall would be,” he said.

“We’re no better informed than we were before ... but ... I’m pretty sceptical it will happen.” 

Mr Gee said the first step in the planning process was to talk with those most affected, landholders, who had received all their information from the media. 

Secondly, environmental groups, whose concerns would also be part of the process. 

“The concerns of all those variety of groups have to be addressed,” Mr Gee said.

nicole.kuter@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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