I along with other ratepayers attended the monthly meeting for the City of Albury on Monday with regard to the Willowbank application to change zoning.
After the planning meeting a fortnight ago we went along hoping at long last that common sense would prevail and that the application to change an area of R2 from rural to light and moderate industry would be rejected.
This is an issue that has been ongoing for many years.
Roughly three years ago it was agreed the proposal be allowed to proceed after various conditions were met. These included landscaping the area, putting in adequate fencing, restricting vehicles entering the site to exclude double loaders and putting strict provision of where waste water was to go. None of these conditions have been met and the Council Planning Office did not ensure these were complied with.
Imagine our horror when on Monday a Council majority voted to now approve the zoning change application when none of the conditions of the original conditions had been met, and now they were proposing to add a whole lot of other restrictions added to those still outstanding.
The Murray River is the jewel in the crown of Albury, seepage from this site has the potential to pollute our river which supplies our drinking water, swimming in the summer, fishing and recreation. And of course what goes in here flows straight down into the length of the river including all the numerous water demands from irrigators.
We are in a no-win situation here. Eighty submissions were made to council regarding this project and we have obviously been ignored. Ratepayers can attend council meetings, both planning and general but we are not allowed to participate and can only watch and listen. We are all effectively gagged.
I used to live in Mildura and know only too well the problems experienced in the balancing of conflicting wants and needs in the supply of water down the length and breadth of the Murray and Darling Rivers. A potential pollutant occurring so close to where the water is released from the Hume is a potential disaster.
The Council talked about being “open for business” and how bad it would look if the application was turned down. This is a minor inconvenience compared to the potential deleterious effect this business could have on our river.
Jan McIlroy, Albury
Fix it, lazy pollies
The usual tax debate goes along with the real issues being overlooked because it might cause a problem for our lazy pollies to explain why it needs to be rectified.
One area that should be corrected is identities that claim GST for their purchases but do not pay GST on their income. If an identity registers for GST it should follow the same rules as everyone else and not be exempt from paying GST on their income.
It would be nice for the Tax Department to publish all Identities that are exempt from paying GST on their income.
The idea of increasing GST to 15 per cent is not required and just a way for our lazy pollies to walk away from the real issue.
I am always of the belief that GST should be on all purchases with no exemptions. When you make an exemption the tax smart organisations will exploit that loophole. Also just remember when you do your grocery shopping many items already attract a GST component.