A MOVE by Cairns Regional Council to force Mossman Golf Club to pay for a recycled water scheme it can’t afford will bankrupt the organisation, club representatives say.
Desperate for assistance, club captain John Carney and former president Ian Prewett have contacted the office of Federal MP Warren Entsch appealing for help to make council see sense.
Funded by council and the Federal Government, the $11 million ‘Our Water, Our Backyard’ initiative was launched in July last year aimed at ensuring sustainable water security for the Douglas region.
As part of this, the $5.5 million Mossman Recycled Water Scheme committed council to finding customers who will buy the recycled water to irrigate open spaces and recreational areas.
Mr Carney and Mr Prewett said the club had spent a number of hours in discussion with council and Federal Government representatives over the past 12 months.
During this time, they repeatedly stated that if the club was to be liable for any costs, it “simply could not afford” to take part.
But now, the club has been issued with a 17-page legal contract specifying that it will be financially responsible for the installation, ongoing maintenance and operational costs of the infrastructure, as well as the yet-to-be-determined recycled water charges.
The pair told Mr Entsch this week that the contract contradicted previous information they had been given relating to the standard of water to be supplied, and said they feared it was being rushed through to meet council’s June 30 deadline.
“The feeling we got was that the Federal Government has allocated money to encourage these types of projects and the council has taken the funding so they can spend it they would be stupid not to,” Mr Carney said. “But it’s being used the wrong way they have wasted hours and hours of our time, when this is just about Val Schier trying to win points before the election.”
The last 500m of the 5km supply pipeline from Mossman to Newell is now being installed. It will end at the golf course’s 18th hole, with the club expected to continue the construction from there.
“It’s not rocket science we’re a 150-member club and we have no money for this sort of project,” Mr Prewett added. “We can’t even afford the power bill to run the pump. I cannot understand their arrogance either they’re not listening, or they don’t care.”
The pair’s concerns were backed by Mr Entsch, who described the situation as “ludicrous”.
“There would not be a regional golf club in Australia that could afford this,” he said. “It’s about local council and Federal Government looking good politically but it’s clear they have no consideration of the outcome for the community.”
Mr Entsch said that if the recycled water project was a council and Federal Government initiative then the financial responsibility lay with them.
“The club didn’t in any way bid for this infrastructure, therefore it is unreasonable to expect that they will be indentured with this cost,” he said. “In my view, as it is a council and government initiative, the costs should be borne by them.”