Police probing water licence

POLICE will scrutinise a licence granted as part of a proposal to mine water from a Stanley orchard following information from landowners in the area, an Indigo Shire Council meeting heard last night.

The ordinary council meeting, held at the Chiltern Senior Citizens Centre, was to hear a recommendation to approve a planning permit so water could be drawn and bottled from the Cue Springs Road site.

But that was stopped in its tracks before councillors could debate the issue when mayor Bernard Gaffney read out a letter from Goulburn Murray Water, sent to the council last Friday, that stated GMW sought police involvement.

“Goulburn Murray Water has received information from landowners in the Stanley area and ... we’ll be fowarding information on to Victoria Police,” Cr Gaffney read out.

The letter stated GMW does not investigate offences under the Evidence Provisions Act of 1958.

It also stated that until police advise otherwise, the 50-megalitre surface licence issued to Stanley Pastoral Pty Ltd for 19 megalitres allocated for ground water use would not be suspended.

Orchard owner Tim Carey, the managing director of Black Mount Natural Springwater, said after the meeting last night he believed the move could relate to a statutory declaration submitted when he applied for the licence.

He said he declared to the best of his knowledge that he notified people living in the radius of the project and last night’s issue could relate to someone coming forward to say they were not notified.

A motion was passed last night to debate the recommendation in a month’s time, after a police report is received.

Cr Jenny O’Connor submitted two petitions to council last night, one with 420 signatures and the other with 609 signatures, that objected to the proposal on environmental and water supply concerns.

Cr O’Connor said VicRoads should also inspect the roads in the area for safety concerns due to the amount of heavy vehicles using it.