The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed raising of the Warragamba Dam wall has come under fire for watering down environmental protections and insufficient time allowed for submissions.
And at an extraordinary meeting last Friday, Wollondilly Shire Council unanimously voted to reassert its strong opposition to the raising of the dam wall.
Council also condemned the inadequacies of the EIS, including indigenous heritage studies which fail to recognise the need to protect Gundungurra sacred sites.
There was also inadequate consultation with Wollondilly, while the 45 days provided for submissions to be submitted was insufficient for such a major project, particularly given that the EIS took four years to prepare.
Council had already declared it was not supportive of any council owned land, including land within Warragamba Recreation Reserve, being used for any purpose related to the proposed construction of the dam raising.
“This report is several thousand pages long, which doesn’t give residents time to fully review the documentation and prepare strong, considered submissions,” said Wollondilly mayor Robert Khan following Friday’s extraordinary council meeting.
“This is a defining moment for all of us – the Greater Blue Mountains, including parts of Wollondilly, could lose its World Heritage Status if the raising of the dam wall goes ahead,’’ he said.
“We need to protect what is important and prevent the decimation of our indigenous heritage and native species that once destroyed, can never be replaced.
“It is very concerning that only 20 percent of the impacted area was looked at in the EIS, and the investigation only took 25 days, so we don’t even know the full extent of what will be lost.
“The EIS also shows that Wollondilly residents would be significantly impacted during construction of the proposed wall, particularly with regards to traffic, heavy vehicle and noise impacts right through the Shire.
“In terms of providing flood protection for residents downstream, there are alternative solutions that have not been properly examined or costed.’’
The preparation of a comprehensive and detailed response to the EIS will be a priority task for Wollondilly Council, which will also undertake a “robust’’ campaign to inform the community of the major concerns with the EIS and to strongly encourage submissions.