Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor

Check pub site contamination

Contamination testing of the Royal Willows site in Pambula's main street is required by council before any supermarket redevelopment is considered, says Pambula Area Advocacy and Action Group (PAAAG).

The site needs to be investigated for possible disused underground petroleum tanks and signs of soil contamination. Petrol bowsers existed on the site well into the 1970s when hotel and motel patrons and travellers filled their motor vehicles here. On both public health and environmental grounds, council has an obligation to manage contaminated land, particularly when development applications are proposed.

An environmental effects report in support of the supermarket redevelopment lodged with council July 2021, noted earlier commercial purposes on site, but claimed there was no evidence to suggest site specific material contamination.

Before the advent of the modern service station, petrol was also formerly served by Bennetts Motors next door to the Pambula post office, and by Godfrey's garage by the existing milk bar. Underground storage tanks are also likely to exist near the corner of Toallo and Quondola Streets.

PAAAG questions whether any risks to health are compounded by the extra excavations required on the Royal Willows site for underground car parking. Further, heavy rain water will be channelled through the proposed developer-built culvert along a council easement. Without a proper site analysis, we are also concerned toxins would finish up in the low-lying Panboola Wetlands. Council has been aware of members' concerns, put in writing last September and again this month, but is yet to respond.

Jack Downey, PAAAG

Long term benefits flow on

Supporters of the proposed Merimbula Sewage Treatment Plant upgrade and associated ocean outfall usually raise two issues: cost and wet weather.

Yes, there will be a short term cost. However there are potential long term benefits that would flow from building less outfall and more reuse on land.

Pumping the treated effluent to local farmer's storages, they would pay a market price to BVSC for the water. Farms would effectively be drought proofed. Agricultural investment would be able to proceed with optimism, adding to a diversified local economy. Increased employment would flow. Farmers and employees spend more money in the community. Less effluent would be discharged into the ocean where people harvest filter feeders such as oysters and abalone, swim, fish, surf and recreate.

Local community group SWAMP has sourced and provided contact details to council of farmers with storages in place who are willing to take 100 per cent of treated effluent. 'Wet weather' is the cry from ocean outfall proponents. Yes, every system needs an outlet. But, $30million worth of outlet? Surely not if the STP upgrade results in better treated effluent. Where does all the wet weather runoff in the system come from? Not from street drains.

In summary, there are multiple benefits to effluent reuse on land - benefits to society, environment and economy.

Russell Jennings, Pambula Beach

Improving relationships

Friday, November 19, is International Men's Day with the theme for 2021 being to improve gender relations. It is an opportunity for men to consider how the relationship with women can be improved, as well as an opportunity to reflect on the positive role that men can play in leading by example within the community. It is also a time to celebrate the contribution that the men currently make to society for the good of all.

Peter Ayling, Merimbula

Renaming Ben Boyd

On behalf of Alfred (Jimmy) Holmes, 86, of Eden, I would like to nominate that the new naming remembers Jim's brother "Goo". Jim stated this with emotion and a tear in his eyes. Thank You.

Lynette Pearce, Merimbula

Proud of achievements

I am writing in response to an article published recently highly critical of Bega Valley councillors. My particular objection was to the anonymous consultant feigning surprise that decisions could be made "given the polarisation".

Likely a harmonious team could have achieved more, yet council worked hard through fires, floods and COVID, progressing multiple significant projects.

I am proud of my achievements and others too worked tirelessly to represent our community. A problem for councillors throughout the country is the lack of support to combat bad behaviour.

The existing Code of Conduct is costly to apply, confidential, with very weak consequences. Strong policy needs to be developed such as that which protects workers in many sectors.

Cathy Griff