ON THE OFFENSE: North Burnett Regional Council Mayor Rachel Chambers.
ON THE OFFENSE: North Burnett Regional Council Mayor Rachel Chambers. Alex Treacy

'Show us the money,' Burnett mayor says to Sunwater

NORTH Burnett's mayor says she "fully expects” Sunwater to reimburse the council for any infrastructure costs incurred by the decision to lower Paradise Dam's spillway by 5m.

Mayor Rachel Chambers said two council facilities, Mingo Crossing Caravan and Recreation Park and Paradise Dam Caravan Park and Campground, were already feeling the "immediate effects” of the State Government decision, announced last month on the grounds of safety concerns.

Specifically, Cr Chambers cited potential costs such as lengthening boat ramps and pipes, relocating pumps and carting water.

"I really don't expect the ratepayer to be out of pocket for anything that was a Sunwater decision,” she said.

"I fully expect Sunwater to come to the party for that.”

Cr Chambers revealed Sunwater had indicated to council staff they would be willing to negotiate, but she hasn't "gotten any notification about what that looks like”.

A Sunwater representative remained tight-lipped when asked whether reimbursement had been discussed.

"Sunwater has directly briefed the council regarding Paradise Dam and continues to engage with the council and several other stakeholders about any potential impacts related to the lowering of the dam spillway,” they said.

"Sunwater is working with the council to understand how it can assist to minimise the impact to any infrastructure as result of the lowering of the (dam's) storage level.”

In a wide-ranging interview with the Times, Cr Chambers also revealed she had met with the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy on October 2 to discuss how the dam decision would affect the federally-funded $2 million water feasibility study into the North and South Burnett.

"I'm satisfied that Sunwater, the State Government, local government and industry are all going to be able to work together and share information going forward in the next year to make sure the $2 million study will have results that sit alongside whatever Sunwater and the State Government are thinking (about the dam),” Cr Chambers said.

"To me, it would have been a complete waste of money and time if we (went) ahead with the study and meanwhile, sitting over to the side, Sunwater is deciding something completely different and not talking to us about it.

"I'm satisfied enough to keep going.”

The DNRME is the lead agency in the project, which is part of the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund.

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