THE likelihood of tighter water restrictions for Bathurst ratepayers has plenty of people nervous in our region, not least our councillors.
At Bathurst Regional Council's monthly meeting on Wednesday night, councillors considered a report by engineering services director Darren Sturgiss recommending they hold a working party to discuss future options with regard to water restrictions.
Strangely, a number of councillors were uncomfortable with the discussion, saying it made the public nervous to even have water restrictions on the agenda.
At the same time there were concerns council would be criticised for not communicating with residents about possible changes to water restrictions. Exactly how holding any discussions behind closed doors might improve that communication was never spelled out.
Cr Monica Morse, in particular, had a bee in her bonnet when she rose to speak. But rather than discuss the need (or otherwise) for tighter restrictions, she chose to use council's time to take aim at the Bathurst media - and especially the Western Advocate - for failing to support council's water strategies.
She held aloft a copy of the Western Advocate editorial from Wednesday's edition and proceeded to quote from it: "For years this council had the opportunity to introduce low-level water restrictions."
Then she offered up some facts ["I really think that the journalists should stick to facts - yeah, too much to ask," she said] while holding aloft a council Waterwise flyer as proof that council had taken action more than 10 years ago.
Maybe, Cr Morse, but a flyer - no matter how informative - does not a water restriction make. And if, as you seemed to be arguing, an information campaign was as effective as water restrictions in cutting water use, then why do we need water restrictions now? Surely another information campaign could do the trick.
The fact remains - inconvenient as it may be - that council had the opportunity to introduce Level 2 water restrictions more than a decade ago, restrictions that included such sensible bans on watering in the middle of the day and hosing down the driveway, but did nothing until it was forced to much harsher Level 3 restrictions late last year.
This paper is quick to commend the many good things this council does but will not be lectured on facts by a councillor seeking to rewrite history.