Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Sydney Desalination Protests

Community opposition and the need for adequate consultation for contentious water management plans are not limited to major dams or indirect potable water recycling schemes.

An article in today’s Sydney Morning Herald reports that residents of Sutherland Shire turned out in force today to express their opposition to the NSW Government’s plans to build a seawater desalination plant on the Kurnell peninsular.

As Sydney’s storage dams passed 53% capacity, residents were left wondering what the NSW Premier’s previously stated ‘trigger point’ of 30% was all about.

'Stop the Desal' Protest
By Dylan Welch
Sydney Morning Herald
July 3, 2007.

About a hundred Sutherland Shire residents gathered at the site of the proposed desalination plant at Kurnell earlier today, to protest its proposed opening.

Holding signs reading "water tanks not desal", "no desal, anywhere" and "crazy not critical", as well as t-shirts emblazoned with the words "desal no, recycling yes", the protesters blockaded its entrance for about an hour.

At around 8.45 security guards closed the gates and a truck, which had been attempting to leave, reversed back into the site.

The local residents had begun their protest near the corner of Captain Cook and Joseph Banks Drives, about 200 metres from the entrance to the proposed plant.

A huge dinosaur on the back of a ute, holding a sign reading "stop the project Iemma or you will become extinct like me" led the march to the site.

The people behind it were chanting, "stop the desal, save the bay."

Protest organiser Susan Davis said because dam capacity was at 50 per cent, the plant was no longer critical infrastructure.

"Put it on hold. Don't do anything until [Sydney's water levels] get to 30 per cent. We've got about two to three years' supply."

Another local resident, 11-year-old Jeremy Hiskins, said he was concerned about the effects of the plant on Botany Bay.

"The whales will die and we won't be able to fish anymore."

Alan Shorton, 64, who runs a Kurnell real estate office and has lived in the Sutherland Shire for 50 years, said he had already watched Kurnell change drastically over the last half century and was concerned what further industrial developments would do.

"We used to come out here and slide down the sand hills and now it's just turning into an industrial quagmire," he said.

At the last available reading, made on Thursday, Sydney's dam levels sat at 53.1 per cent, more than 23 per cent above the crisis point that the Iemma government had set for initiating a desalination plant.

The plant being built is also twice the size of the original proposal.


Anonymous said...

If the media hadn't been there, would the protestors have been there?

Stuart Khan said...

If a tree protests in the wilderness and nobody is there to witness it, did it really protest?

Anonymous said...

So true!

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