Councillors lock horns over Cherrabah controversy
SOUTHERN Downs councillors have locked horns in a debate over roadworks required before the controversial groundwater extraction project at Cherrabah can start.
Councillor Cynthia McDonald was one of the first to voice her concerns on the gradual development, saying the Cherrabah facility's function as a resort and events centre in addition to the water trucking would soon exceed the road's vehicle limit.
"Having driven (Keoghs Rd) last week, it is extremely dangerous - it is narrow, it is windy, and for those people who aren't used to driving that road, it is an accident waiting to happen," Cr McDonald said.
But Mayor Vic Pennisi was quick to shut down any argument taken from an events or tourism-based approach.
"I'm sorry Cr McDonald, we're not discussing events, that was a different application with a different set of conditions," Cr Pennisi said.
"Please stick to what's in front of you, which is the application we have - please stick to that, or I'll call you out of order."
Cr McDonald swiftly withdrew her previous comments, though the divisive issue was far from addressed.
Fellow councillors Andrew Gale, Stephen Tancred, Marco Gliori, and Deputy Mayor Ross Bartley initially divided council with a proposal to return to their original set of conditions and see the roadworks completed in one operation.
After lengthy debate, Councillors Sheryl Windle, Cameron Gow, and Jo McNally joined Crs Pennisi, Bartley, and Gliori in voting through the staged approach to widening Keoghs Rd.
"If we oppose a condition on this road that is not fair and reasonable, we will be defending that condition, potentially, in a court of law, and that money could be better invested in our region," Cr Pennisi said.
"We had this discussion before today, there was a decision to support it, and I'm going to continue to support it in line with the (council) officer's recommendation."