TAMBORINE Mountain residents had a win after council’s 2011 decision to deny a development permit for the commercial extraction of groundwater from a property on Power Parade was upheld in court.
The finding against Gillion Pty Ltd was handed down on October 5 at the Planning and Development Court in Brisbane, with residents hoping it will mean an end to water being carted from the property to be bottled and sold in supermarkets.
Gillion argued in their appeal that there was an economic need to provide such good quality water to the growing bottled water industry and that the people of Mount Tamborine.would benefit from having a reliable source of water “right on their doorstep”.
They also said they would make the water available for firefighters and provide a reliable source of water for charitable purposes during natural emergencies.
Tamborine Mountain Progress Association Jeanette Lockey said groundwater had been extracted from the property for some years without the required development permit.
“In 2010 neighbours had been complaining for a couple of years about the heavy traffic and the noise from trucks in the narrow, residential street,” she said.
“Council knocked back the development application in 2011, saying the operation was unlawful but they were allowed to keep operating to give them time to get the development application right.”
Ms Lockey said Gillion had stopped operations in 2014 and the matter had been in appeals court ever since, with about 1000 local residents backing the council on the issue.
She said the first court case had been costly, with residents shelling out about $300,000 between them.
“Of the almost 1200 objectors in 2015 we had 108 standing as co-respondents and four of us elected to represent the group at this last session,” Ms Lockey said.
“When it was announced that we had won, everyone cheered.”
Read more: Study to provide water certainty
Scenic Rim mayor Greg Christensen said he was pleased with the outcome but the original council decision was made before his time as mayor. Cr Christensen declined to comment on costs.
“There are still some housekeeping matters to be resolved with the court around costs and it would be disrespectful to talk about costs while that matter is going on,” he said.
“In keeping with a number of outcomes this year, Scenic Rim residents can draw confidence that we are focused on achieving the right balance for our communities and will pursue, without flinching, such directions.
“I remind the community that the information provided by the Facebook warriors very rarely provides a good basis for sound judgement.”
Ms Lockey said there was a huge response across the mountain, especially since the community had to manage without a drop of town water.
She said the heavy tankers carting water off the mountain also caused problems.
“The tanker drivers are generally helpful and polite but if you get stuck behind one of them going down Henri Roberts Drive, you could be doing 8km/hr,” she said.
“They can’t move over and it’s impossible to pass them.”