Council rejects water mine

RESIDENTS are celebrating after Indigo Shire’s councillors knocked back a permit to mine water from a property at Stanley.

But their joy may be short lived, with the plans now resting with the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Tim Carey, who owns an orchard on Cue Springs Road, wants to install a transfer station to extract water from the property.

He already has approval from Goulburn-Murray Water to mine the groundwater, but councillors yesterday denied him a permit to install required infrastructure.

Resident Ed Tyrie said he was feeling elated with the decision.

“This has been a long hard grind for six or seven months,” he said.

“It is just an amazing outcome.

“It’s a very courageous decision in view of the pressure that’s been brought.

“They’ve listened to the community.”

Mr Tyrie said the development would be devastating, affecting traffic and the environment.

“I don’t think there’s any debate as to the impact it would have on Stanley,” he said.

Cr Jenny O’Connor said she had been concerned the project would set a precedent for water extraction in the area.

“It is clear the overwhelming majority of people in Stanley and surrounding areas are united in their opposition to this development,” she said.

“They are concerned about long-term impacts.”

Cr Don Chambers said community opposition was not grounds for VCAT to refuse an application, but he noted development would degrade quality farmland.

He said the issue of road safety also needed to be addressed.

Mr Carey has effectively bypassed the council’s decision by taking the matter to VCAT.

“It doesn’t make any difference,” he said of yesterday’s decision.

“VCAT will decide this issue in the end.

“We put a planning application into council and they didn’t decide on it so VCAT will now decide on it.”

While a date has not been set for that hearing, Mr Carey said he expected it to be heard in about six months time.

“We would have appreciated the council’s support,” he said.

“We believe this is a viable and sustainable project.

“That’s something we’ll argue at VCAT.”