Image:  City of Gold Coast | Choose Tap  

The Time to act is now!!

Council has now called for public submissions from concerned citizens regarding the new water extraction business.

Any submissions need to be sent to council by the 16th of November, 2018.

APPLICATION No:            MCU201800495   

DESCRIPTION:                   Rural Industry  

CODE:                                   Material Change of Use

CLASS:                                Impact   

Lot Number:                      36 RP139816

 

A development application that may degrade the future amenity, environment and lifestyle of all Springbrook residents and ratepayers is now before Council.  The applicant, owner of 263 Repeater Station Rd wishes to extract ground water for his own commercial use.  The application proposal is for 8 truckloads per day, with up to 20,000 litres of water.  This would mean effectively 16 truck movements on Repeater Station Road, and then up and down the mountain from 6:30am.  

The application is available to read online : City of Gold Coast / Planning and Development Online / Development Application (DA Tracking), or it can be found by accessing Gold Coast City Council Pd Online. 

  • Go to property enquires pre-June 2018 and click on ‘Development Application Tracking (DA Tracking)’.
  • Enter 201800495 in the Application Number Box and click ‘Search’. If more than one application is found, select MCU201800495 by clicking on the magnifying glass icon.

Online objections to development applications can also be made from the Application page.   

To be valid, objections to this development application must be received by Council before 16th of November.

Why is there community concern about this?

The site is zoned “Rural, Rural landscape and Environmental Precinct” and is part of the Hinterland core habitat system.  The ecosystem along Repeater Station Road contains remnant vegetation and significant wildlife species.  

This new water extraction development cannot be supported for the following reasons:

  1. The ‘Use’ in the application is not defined, when it should be identified as Extractive Industry under the Planning Scheme (Council identifies this as premises used for the extraction and/or processing of extractive resources [ie. Water] and associated activities, including transportation to market.) If the use is not defined, how can the council officers properly assess the required conditions?
  2. Purpose of the Zone – there is obvious incompatibility between environmental significance, scenic amenity, steep & sloping landscape and the movement of large trucks, noise and danger to locals, tourists and wildlife on a narrow, winding and steep mountain road.  Adjacent properties will be adversely affected, and the safe access to Best of All Lookout along with the value of the area as part of a major tourist destination, will be impacted.
  3. Land clearing – The block has already been cleared without initial approval, and fines were issued for this clearing. The road verge will require further clearing for sight lines of trucks entering and leaving the premises.  
  4. Traffic safety is of serious concern with a roadway width of only 5.5 metres. This road is used by hikers, motorbikes and cars and some tourist buses of varying size.  There is no footpath or sealed shoulder and two large vehicles would not be able to pass adequately.  There are also safety risks with impatient behaviour by drivers held up by slow moving trucks.
  5. Infrastructure costs will increase for Gold Coast City Council, as it is a minor road (not under the jurisdiction of TMR) and no doubt will involve more ratepayer’s expense to maintain under the mountain’s regular and sometimes extreme weather conditions. Council struggles to maintain the current infrastructure of roads and bridges for which it is currently responsible.  Increased industrial traffic can only put more pressure on the mountain’s infrastructure.
  6. Is the delivery of treated spring water justified as a local service?   Most would argue that it is not necessary, as some properties already have their own spring fed supplies.  Others have bores, which are of no concern as the water raised returns to the aquifer, and most residents have sufficient tank capacity for their needs. Occasionally water is purchased from Gold Coast suppliers, but most residents quickly learn to conserve water, valuing it as a precious resource. 
  7. Ecotourism is the lifeblood of the mountain’s economy which is a low impact and sustainable use that is compatible with the Rural Landscape and Environmental Precinct Zoning of the Repeater Stn. Rd locale. Marketed as the “green behind the gold”, Springbrook National Park’s World Heritage status has become a tourist drawcard, bringing hundreds of thousands of visitors – both international and domestic.  They are looking for a natural experience in an environmentally special and sensitive area.  Traffic noise, large trucks on the narrow roads and an industrial facility is not compatible with this image.  No new commercial extraction of water should occur, so that the World Heritage Values of the National Park are maintained.
  8. Setting a precedent: With 3 groundwater extraction sites already identified by Gold Coast City Council on Repeater St. Rd, with two currently being utilised, there is concern that with another facility “commercial groundwater extraction may be an emerging activity in the locality”. (Seqwater 01/06/18)
  9. Economic need: The only employment opportunity is one extra truck driver. In the most recent Water Rates notice sent to Gold Coast residents, they were urged to refill bottles from their own taps, or the Council provided refill stations as “tap water is better for your health, the environment and your hip pocket”.  This property alone, could generate 50 million, half litre plastic bottles of water a year!  Here is a link to the Council’s “Choose Tap” campaign.

This proposal is not in the public interest.

Let’s ask the experts…

The report from the Integrated planning Co-ordinator from SEQWater assessing impacts of development in the catchment, states their concern that “no limitation is existing on the quantity of water to be extracted”.  Also “It is recognised that the area is not a defined water extraction management area under the Water Plan  2006”, and “the impacts on groundwater hydrological regimes cannot be fully ascertained without some limitation on take.”

There is “uncertainty regarding the impacts of extraction in dry years, particularly if this were to coincide with increased extraction rates”.

In their recommendations, “a volumetric extraction limit should be set, monthly monitoring for the first year, quarterly thereafter, analysis of cumulative impacts of water extraction activities and clarification of rainfall data:. 

Geoff Dickie, previously a Senior Geologist with the Dept. of Natural Resources and Lecturer in Hydrology, explains that there is an aquifer within the volcanic rocks of the Springbrook plateau that is replenished by seasonal rainfall, however in the “low rainfall months of May to November, the springs are the main supply to the creeks supplying the waterfalls” (Twin, Rainbow and Goomoolahra).

Clearly there are concerns regarding the impact of increased commercial water extraction on volumes of water available to springs, creeks and waterfalls on the southern end of the plateau.

What can you do? 

1.   Write a letter stating your own objections to the proposed application.  Submit it by post to the Assessment Manager at the below address.  Your letter must be signed, giving your full name and address.  It must also include valid objections similar to those addressed above, as well as the application details as listed at the top of this page.

Post your letter to:

   The Assessment Manager

   City of Gold Coast

   PO Box 5042

   GCMC 9729

2.   Email your letter to Councillor Tozer and other Councillors.  Each Councillor should be provied with the same information.   Their email addresses are Division1@goldcoast.qld.gov.au through to division14@goldcoast.gov.au

Your email needs to say why you object to water extraction for commercial purposes from Springbrook.

3.   Alternatively, submit an objection online. Go to the page “Have your say on a Development Application – Submission Form”.  

If you have no time to write your own submission, please download our form letter here.

Thank you, from the residents against the new commercial water extraction group.