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Investigations into Gundaroo Sewerage System

Open letter to residents of Gundaroo Village - February 2018

December 2017 Resolution of Council:

  1. The outcomes of the consultation and survey regarding a sewerage scheme in Gundaroo be noted.
  2. Council acknowledges that Gundaroo Sewerage Scheme Options study indicated that sewering the existing village is economically viable with a 50% subsidy from the State Government.
  3. An application for a 50% subsidy be lodged for sewering the existing village of Gundaroo at an estimated cost of $8M.
  4. Council undertake further community consultation and investigations to determine a preferred sewerage scheme for the village of Gundaroo, including options for alleviating the impact of high connection costs.
  5. Council’s preference is for any future sewerage scheme at Gundaroo to be owned and operated by Council.

As stated in the resolution above, Council approved further investigation and community consultation into a potential sewerage system for Gundaroo and for grant funding to be sought. Council did not approve the construction of a sewerage system in Gundaroo.

Many on-site sewer management systems exist in Gundaroo, and it is well known that some systems have difficulty performing effectively during periods of wet weather, of which long term residents would be well aware. E.coli was also identified in the groundwater during recent testing.

Council has ultimate responsibility for drinking water quality, especially water quality of the Yass River, which provides a water supply for Yass, Bowning, Binalong and soon Murrumbateman. So what Council does or does not do impacts more than just Gundaroo residents.

Investigation into a sewerage scheme for Gundaroo emerged after a determination from the Department of Planning & Environment (State Government) for two rezoning proposals north and south of the village. This Department determination requires the lots to be a minimum of 2,000m² with a reticulated sewerage system or a minimum of 5,000m² without such a system.

Council did not want to see a sewerage system, or potentially two systems, developed for the new developments only and not in Council control. This would leave the existing village unsewered and provide no future ability to be sewered. It was determined to investigate a single Council controlled reticulation system for the village, as well as the proposed new developments, to provide the best long term whole of village solution.

Council has now reaffirmed its view, that in the best interest of the entire community, if any future sewerage scheme was to be implemented in Gundaroo it should be a single system, which is owned and operated by Council.

Community consultation takes on many and varied forms but just because a Council makes a decision that is not aligned with the ‘popular’ vote does not mean it is undemocratic or corrupt. It means that Council has taken on the views of all the parties involved, accessed all the information available and made a decision that is in the best interest of the entire Yass Valley community.

The aim of the survey undertaken of Gundaroo residents was to provide additional information so that democratically elected officials were able to make decisions in the best interest of the entire community.

The survey also provided an opportunity for residents to provide additional comments for Councillors to consider with the reoccurring topics raised including: performance and investment in existing on-site systems, affordability, the type of system built and odour. These concerns of the community will continue to be considered as the investigations continue.

Council values our community’s views, however in this instance the community’s views are not the sole consideration in the decision making process.

Councillors are elected to make decisions, which at times are very hard and controversial decisions, but whether you personally agree with them or not, they are based on the best interests of the entire Yass Valley community.

The Gundaroo community will be kept informed throughout this additional investigation and grant application processes, which is expected to be undertaken over the next 6-12 months.

We thank you for your input into this matter.

Cr Rowena Abbey
Yass Valley Mayor

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