360 tonne 'mistake' will never happen again, says SDRC
RESIDENTS fought to have their voices heard during a heated community meeting at the Killarney Senior Citizen centre last night.
Cars lined the streets, people filled the seats and hands shot in the air in a strong demonstration of how much Killarney cares about the future of its local environment.
Southern Downs Regional Council convened the meeting to discuss their "mistakes" in dumping asphalt into the Condamine River Rd crossings and seek feedback on how to move forward.
Council water manager Seren McKenzie told the crowd council staff acknowledged they should not have dumped 3900 tonnes of foreign material into the Cambanoora Gorge after the council told the community no works would go ahead on the crossings without further consultation.
"We are all aware of the correct process in the future," she said.
"It won't happen again."
The damage, however, may already be done.
Much of the asphalt dumped into the river came from torn up, 20 year old bitumen on Albion St in Warwick.
A council staffer said the chunks of bitumen were chosen because they had long-oxidised and posed no threat to the local environment.
Resident Peter Kemp questioned the assertion, stating he'd handled pieces that clearly contained a petroleum product.
"Who did the safety evaluation?" Mr Kemp asked.
"I want to see your test results."
The staffer then stated some bitumen may have entered the mix that had not yet oxidised, from portions of the road where potholes had been filled over the years.
A representative from the State Department of Natural Resources said they authorised the sediment to enter the crossings as it was under 15 cubic metres, under the exemption guidelines, but did not control what the sediment contained.
Despite the potential impact, the staff member said removing the dumped product was out of the question as that process "may do more harm than good".
The issue exacerbated the distrust between the Killarney community and council, with resident Tony Pearson taking control of the mic to express his frustration.
"We don't feel like we have a say," Mr Pearson said.
"When we come to these meetings and spend our time telling you what we want, we expect to see some action.
"Instead we were ignored totally in the process."