Former apple orchardist Boyd Collins is waiting to decide if he will take Indigo Council to court over a decision to refuse a permit to mine water from his Stanley property.
Councillors this week voted down his application to extract 19 megalitres of groundwater per year, taking a moral stand against the practice they feared could deprive agriculture land of precious water.
“I’m still weighing up my odds,” Mr Boyd told The Border Mail when asked if he would mount a legal challenge of the decision.
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal previously dismissed a 2015 challenge to Tim Carey’s water extraction permit on another Stanley property.
Mr Boyd attended those previous court hearings.
“The precedent has been set at VCAT … if they (Indigo Council) are going back to VCAT, I think it’s a silly decision,” he said.
“It’s probably going to cost more than they think.”
A report presented to councillors this week warned the decision on water extraction rested with Goulburn-Murray Water.
Objectors had raised concerns about the impact of 500 extra tanker loads per year using roads in and out of the property.
“If they had any brains they would have OK’d it, but people power is pretty strong,” Mr Collins said.
He said the objections were “a load of rubbish” and council discussions on Tuesday night were “a damn shambles” led by a “Green mayor” in Jenny O’Connor he claimed was trying to leverage her political standing.
Cr O’Connor told the meeting she wanted to take a stand with the Stanley community against water extraction.
Mr Collins no longer grows apples on his property, saying it was a costly business.
“(Water extraction) will probably secure my next generation of farming on this property because I’ve stopped growing apples,” he said. “It’s just a matter of getting permission.”