An open letter to mayor Graeme Hanger
I read your comments on the water restrictions and how Bathurst Regional Council is committed to working with the community to achieve a good outcome.
A quick question, Graeme, this is going to start when? Because, as far as I’m aware, no meaningful consultation appears to have taken place with the community (e.g. those likely to be affected by your vote) before the decision was taken by you to impose these restrictions.
The reason I say that the decision was taken by you is because it was your casting vote that tipped the vote to the ‘yes’ side. This is your moment under the spotlight!
And Graeme, I believe that decision was probably the most damaging decision taken by any public official in recent times.
The damage done to this town is already beginning, with one young builder, who couldn’t obtain an exemption to establish turf on three spec homes, seeing their values drop significantly as a result, and those with gardens that are their pride and joy facing a huge loss of valuable plants.
I have spoken with several business people (have you?) and all have expressed severe reservations about the restrictions and the lack of consultation before the vote.
Of course, the unnecessary severe restrictions will have a ripple effect with the damage multiplying over time.
Graeme, why haven’t you looked at the facts properly before making this silly decision?
Fact: with your restrictions, we’re only likely to save about five per cent of the current stored capacity over the summer - less than 950 megalitres out of more than 17,000 megalitres.
Fact: even at an average total drawdown of 35 megalitres per day for all uses (which is at the high end), the reduction in stored volume over the summer will only be 3150 megalitres if no rain falls at all.
Fact: the forecast for the summer is for a 75pc chance of 100 to 200 millimetres of rainfall to the end of February (Bureau of Meteorology).
Graeme, if you would like me to help you with arriving at a logical decision, I’ll be happy to put my 40-plus years in the water industry to good use to assist.
I’m sorry to criticise you, Graeme, but in my view this decision should be reversed, and the original levels reinstated, because the new levels don’t make the blindest bit of sense.
It smacks of more interest in another photo opportunity rather than a carefully considered decision that has weighed the pros and cons and would have had widespread ratepayers’ support, instead of one that potentially wrecks businesses and has garden owners shaking their heads.
I have been told, Graeme, that a number of concerned stakeholders have attempted to contact you about this issue, but have not been successful.
The only question I have, Graeme, is whether you and your ‘yes’ voting councillors are big enough to admit you’ve stuffed up and set about fixing this debacle?
Frankly, I doubt it, but if you do, I’ll be the first to shake your hand. Perhaps for another photo opportunity.