Wagga Wagga City Council General Manager, Peter Thompson has condemned the unlawful erection of shutters on Tatton Drain and says the action may have dashed Council’s hopes for the NSW Government to grant a permanent water solution to Lake Albert.
Mr Thompson said Council became aware today that unknown persons have secretly erected shutters to the culverts on Tatton Drain where it passes under Lake Albert Road.
The Natural Resource Access Regulator (NRAR) has been notified and Council expects it will be issued with a direction to remove the gates.
“We understand that what has been done is unlawful. The NRAR is the regulatory authority and Council will be complying with any direction it receives,” Mr Thompson said.
“Unfortunately, the action of erecting the gates will probably make our application to the Minister for Water, Property and Housing, Melinda Pavey, even harder.
“We are asking her to exercise a discretion in our favour. We know her advisers are speaking against the solution. Add that to the unlawful action in breach of the water legislation and it makes a refusal easier for the Minister.
“Why would she reward behaviour that flaunts the law?
“I am really quite devastated by what has happened. So much work and effort has been put into persuading the Minister to back us and this happens.
“We will still continue with our case, but the community needs to realise it just got a lot harder. Why would a Minister exercise her discretion in our favour following a deliberate and illegal act done secretly and anonymously?”
Mr Thompson said Council has also reported the illegal action to NSW Police.