The campaign to stop the raising of the Warragamba Dam Wall has hit a chord with Wollondilly residents.
Council’s online petition has received more than 5,000 signatures as opposition to the plan gathers momentum.
A recent special community forum on the issue was also a success, featuring powerful online presentations from concerned community groups including the Gundungurra people, the Colong Foundation for Wilderness and Blue Mountains City Council.
In a small win for the council and community advocates, the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment has extended the exhibition period for the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), allowing an extra 17 days for submissions.
While this is still considered insufficient time for such a major project, – the statement took four years to prepare – it is a concession that will allow more time for council and individuals to consider the 4,000 page document.
The enthusiastic community response and speed at which 5,000 petition signatures were reached demonstrates the high level of community support for the campaign.
Council believes that Wollondilly has not been properly consulted on this issue, despite the fact that this is the area that will be most impacted if the wall is raised.
Also, council has condemned the inadequacies of the recently released Environmental Impact Statement, which fails to recognise the need to protect Gundungurra sacred sites.
The raising of the wall could also lead to the Blue Mountains World Heritage status being revoked and threaten native species that live in the Burragorang Valley, such as the regent honey eater.
The town of Warragamba would be significantly impacted during construction, with businesses and tourism to suffer directly as a result of the dam wall raising.
Other areas of Wollondilly would also pay the cost for the project, with communities impacted by heavy vehicles travelling through the Shire.