Covid 19 impacts
Restrictions due to the Covid 19 pandemic have meant that some of the committee have been meeting online (using Zoom) as well as face to face. This has thrown up some challenges, but also some opportunities to increase engagement. At the AGM (Sat Aug 8 th ) there will be a proposal to change our constitution to allow electronic participation in meetings to meet the requirements of forming a quorum and enable electronic voting.
● OMPH have had contact with a Local Residents Group (Lower Creek) and the Thungutti Local Aboriginal Land Council – these have been initial contacts and are not “consultation”. They have offered, as is standard practice, to fund any cultural site investigations.
● Armidale Regional Council has recognised SOMR as a key stakeholder and will ensure we are informed of developments. They will also keep Kempsey Shire Council , who are unaware of the proposal, in the loop.
● Communications with UNE and SCU have informed us that neither has been engaged to do any Environmental Impact Studies, the scientists cannot give advice on the project without more information.
● Jeremy Moon from OMPH has responded to SOMR’s communication – describing his commitment to stabilising the grid for the effective use of renewables, he clarified that there will be no renewable energy directly associated with the project. He is to be invited (via Zoom) to do a meet and greet with SOMR on 8 th August – it is to be made extremely clear that this is an introduction not a “community consultation”.
● Summary sent to Greens MP’s , with a request to use question time to highlight this issue – no response.
Some background https://www.afr.com/companies/energy/alinta-yet-to-comply-with-firb- sale-conditions-20200515-p54tdy
● Thanks to the many people who have contributed to the purchase of the water testing kit
●The following have been identified as priorities for collecting base line data
- The Mungay and Deep Creek areas downstream from the old antimony mine,
- The Gravel Extraction areas at Moonebah
- Hickeys Creek below the proposed market garden and
- Comara – as a lower priority.
The tests are to be in separate seasons to obtain results from different temperatures and environmental conditions.
Willawarrin Market Garden
● An updated Submission of Objection to the Development Application was forwarded to KSC on 10th June. Concerns include :
- spray drift impacting on Willawarrin Primary School, Hickeys Creek and residents.
- Run off from chemical fertilisers
- Logging in the Macleay Catchment
Logging in the Macleay Catchment
● Compartments 540, 541, 542 and 552, which we visited a year ago, are nearing completion.
● Boots on the ground visits have not happened due to Covid 19 restrictions – now to be renegotiated
● Thungutti LALC to be engaged to make representations on halting logging as is being done by the Gumbaynggirr people who have brought legal challenge in Nambucca.
Riverside Gravel Extraction
● SOMR is assisting residents regarding their concerns regarding operator’s failure to comply with several Conditions of Approval.
Southern Cross Uni
● Ongoing data collection by SOMR since 2016 has provided unique data post bushfires on the condition of the Macleay River
● Following graphs show suspended sediment levels – with Rupert’s explanatory notes.