CONDITIONS likely to be attached to the approval of the Macquarie pipeline will mean the $47 million budget will blow out, a chief opponent of the project says.
The environmental assessment (EA) of the project was released for public comment on Wednesday but the Orange and Region Water Security Alliance’s Paul Wettin has dismissed the document’s findings.
“When has anyone ever produced an EA that doesn’t say project should go ahead?” he said.
“We strongly believe this project will have an adverse effect on the ecology of the river.
“If the project does go ahead it will have very strict conditions that will have a major impact on the budget of the project.”
Mr Wettin hit back at claims from mayor John Davis that pipeline supports were the majority.
“All past polls in Orange have clearly established the opposite including the Mr Davis referendum on the pipeline at the last state election with [member for Orange] Andrew Gee,” he said.
He said implications from Cr Davis that the alliance does not have water security for Orange as its primary goal is a “gross misrepresentation”.
“The pipeline does not win on all cases ... some other options are fully funded such as the Suma Park enlargement which has been in council’s budget for some eight years,” he said.
“Stormwater harvesting infrastructure has been in place for some three years.
“If the existing stormwater harvesting, bores etc. were in place from 2005, Suma Park storage would not have gone below 50 per cent during the drought.”
Mr Wettin also criticised the council’s decision to release the EA when the route for the pipeline had not been finalised.
“There’s been a totally inadequate assessment of the impact on the river,” he said.
“The aquatic ecology consultant hardly caught a fish ... in the report it says they did not catch a Murray cod but I had a friend that went down there with a rod and reel and caught nine in one day.”
Mr Wettin said the alliance will make a submission to the planning department about the EA contesting the council’s justification for the project and the environmental impacts.