How can we get the time or the expertise to object in a scientific way?

    Council will assist you in whatever way it can to ensure you are fully informed and can prepare any representations you wish to make.  It also needs to be remembered that the consultant who assesses representations is independent and will take into account the circumstances and limitations of any individual objector when assessing their submissions. 

    How much water has been used for drinking water since the dam was built?

    Current water demand is approximately 10,000ML per year. This has been steady for a number of years as the increased water consumption due to growth has been offset by water-saving measures implemented though demand management.

    Is there not a more efficient way to use the existing water?

    Yes. Council is undertaking studies into water efficiency and demand management to reduce the per capita consumption of water.  To date, Council has reduced the total consumption of water by more than 20 per cent at a time when the Shire has grown in population by about two per cent per annum.  That being said, as we undertake more water efficiency measures it is hard to duplicate the savings already made.  As an example, it may be relatively easy to get a person to reduce the time in the shower from five minutes to three minutes but it is somewhat more difficult to get that person to then reduce the time in the shower from three minutes to one minute. This phenomenon is called Demand Hardening.

    Why doesn’t Council connect Cobaki Lakes to Queensland water supply?

    It is the choice of the developer, not Council, as to where Cobaki Lakes gets it water. Council has little or no say in the matter. They may choose to get water from Queensland or Tweed.  If the developers of Cobaki choose to get their water from Queensland the impact on Tweed’s Water Supply is that it would delay the need for the water supply augmentation by one to two years but would not negate the requirement to augment the supply.

    What is the role of the state government and is Council independent of its influence?

    The Concept Planning phase to raise the wall of Clarrie Hall Dam ends with an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The NSW Planning Department, being part of State Government, determines what issues must be addressed and what studies must be included in that EIS.  The State Government also is the authority Council must apply to for various approvals to construct and operate a raised Clarrie Hall Dam.

    Is it possible that this decision will be overturned by Council?

    The elected body of Council can overturn this decision at any time. However, such a move would not be recommended by the Engineering Division as the deadline for more water storage in the shire remains unchanged at 2026 and it will take at least 10 years to undertake any large construction project, including raising the wall of Clarrie Hall Dam. 

    Is it lawful to release blue-green alga polluted water in to the Tweed River?

    This issue is not addressed by legislation.  The issue is addressed by Council adopting management practices to, first, limit the risk of blue-green algae forming and, second, to release water from levels within the dam where no blue-green algae is present.

    How much water is lost by releasing water in to the Tweed River and then pumping it out again?

    The quantity of water "lost" is difficult to determine as it is made up of but not exclusive to: extraction from the weir pool by irrigators, over which Council has no control; evaporation, which can be estimated from evaporation rates but is minor; and, losses to groundwater, which vary depending on groundwater conditions and environmental flows.

    The most significant of these ‘losses’ is extraction by irrigators and environmental flows. Irrigators may take up to 1149ML/year although, when and how this is taken, is at the discretion of the irrigators subject to their licence conditions.

    The present water sharing plan for the Tweed provides for an environmental flow from Clarrie Hall Dam of between 2 and 6 ML/day and an environmental flow from Bray Park Weir of between 3 and 8 ML/day.  This water is basically returned to the environment and not available for the town water supply. Water lost to groundwater and evaporation is significantly less.

    How will Council ensure consistency and fairness in its dealings with affected land owners and residents?

    Council will make all information (except private and confidential information and some Aboriginal culturally significant information) publicly available.  Council's decision-making will be transparent. Council will undertake negotiations with individual landowners only.  To guard against any individual or group receiving ‘favourable’ treatment, the following processes have been adopted:

    ·  Council will engage an independent Valuer to value all the properties or part properties to be purchased. The same Valuer will be used for all properties, ensuring consistency in the valuations process. All landowners will be invited to seek an independent valuation if they wish.

    ·  When identifying and assessing the options to provide road access as a result of McCabe’s Bridge being inundated, Council will identify and short-list a number of options and then undertake a cost:benefit analysis of those options to identify a preferred option. All options will be assessed against set criteria, which typically include technical and cost criteria.

    An independent consultant (or group of consultants) will be engaged to develop the Environmental Impact Statement.  A different independent consultant will be engaged to assess the Environmental Impact Statement, review public submissions made during the Environmental Impact Statement exhibition period and make a recommendation to Council on whether the project can proceed and on what conditions or whether the project cannot proceed.

    Is the raising of Clarrie Hall Dam a foregone conclusion?

    No.  After consideration of a range of factors, Council considered the raising of Clarrie Hall Dam was the best option for the augmentation of the water supply.  Before the raising can occur the proposal to raise the dam has to be assessed through an environmental impact assessment.  That assessment will consider, among other things, issues such as cultural heritage, the impact on the environment and alternatives.  Submissions made through the exhibition period of the environmental impact assessment will also be considered.  If it is found that the impact on the environment or the impact on cultural heritage is unacceptable, the project will not go ahead.  Similarly, if during the environmental impact assessment and subsequent exhibition period it is found there are better alternatives those alternatives will be pursued.

    Why are we following the recommendation of the discredited former Community Working Group (CWG)?

    The former Community Working Group (CRG) was not discredited. It was part of a larger community engagement process that provided input into the development of the Augmentation Strategy, which ultimately recommended raising the wall of Clarrie Hall Dam. 

    Did Council show the Integrated Water Supply Options for North East NSW and South East Queensland to the 2009 CWG? If not, why?

    The SMEC Report is referenced in the Tweed District Water Supply Augmentation Options Study Stages 1 & 2 and the Tweed District Water Supply Augmentation Options Study Stage 3.

    These studies were part of the basis on which the CWG made its recommendations.  As such, the CWG would have been aware of the SMEC Report and aware the Report was referred to in the documents with which they worked.

    As to whether each member of the CWG was provided a copy, Council is yet to find out.

    Does the $63.75m include roads, clearing, fencing and land acquisition?

    Generally, yes. But the cost of a modified or new access route included is an estimate only and may vary given that the preferred option has not been determined.

    Council is acquiring a 7m horizontal buffer zone above the 70m contour so it can access the dam perimeter. Will members of the public be able to drive around the dam?

    No.  Members of the public will not be able to enter the dam property, except in an electric boat or kayak on the dam itself. While there will be a 7m buffer from the full service level of the dam, there will be no track as such around the dam perimeter.  The buffer zone is required should Council vehicles need to enter the dam property for operational purposes or emergency management but this would not be on a daily basis nor even a regular basis.

    Will the 7m buffer zone be cleared of vegetation?

    No. Not necessarily. Council does need access around the dam but that access does not have to be a continuous unvegetated strip.  Council fully expects the vegetation within the buffer zone to remain uncleared except for at critical entry points.

    With fewer people living and farming in the valley, can we expect wild animals and noxious weeds to proliferate?

    In its flora and fauna studies, Council did see some foxes and wild dogs. These animals are part of today’s Australian landscape. Council is considering engineering solutions to limit the growth and spread of weeds at the dam fringe.  Council has the same obligations as any landowner for noxious weed management.

    How will you prepare the tributaries upstream that will be inundated ahead of that inundation (that is, the wall being raised and the new dam being filled)?

    At this stage, we have no information that any preparation will be required.  We do know there is no obligation to remove trees/ vegetation from upstream tributaries.  When Clarrie Hall Dam was built, the timber was not harvested.

    How will the timber to be inundated be harvested?

    This question cannot be answered at this stage of the project.

    What type of fencing will be used?

    In general the fencing will be standard cattle fences with 4 strands of barbed wire.  Where there are other specific needs, e.g. a house paddock or fencing to preclude pests, alternate fencing may be provided.  Each situation will be considered on its merits. 

    What can Council do to improve the security of my property from intruders accessing it via the dam?

    The property boundary will be fenced, clearly delineating Council property from private property.  Also, Council could provide landowners with “Private property keep out” signage for placing at likely entry points.

    Does Council need to fence the dam off if it is in an inaccessible and very private location? Is this negotiable?

    It is Council’s intention to fence the dam property boundary.

    Can I have access gates into the dam from my property?

    Generally ‘yes’ but these requests would be negotiated on a case-by-case basis. Water quality issues and keeping stock away would be considerations.

    Why not Byrrill Creek? Isn’t it wiser to have some contingency in a second dam?

    While you might expect that a second dam would provide greater drought security, it’s not that simple. The bulk of the water supplying the Tweed comes from Bray Park weir, which is fed by the Tweed River, which has both Byrrill Creek and Doon Doon Creek as tributaries. While ever there is adequate water flowing to Bray Park, the water stored in the dams is not needed.  It is only when there is insufficient flow in the Tweed River that water from the dam/s would be released. So without consideration of issues like environmental flows or evaporation it doesn’t matter where the water is stored.  However, we do need to consider issues like evaporation and environmental flows.  A second dam at Byrrill Creek would require releases of water over and above that required from Clarrie Hall Dam, thereby reducing the amount of water available to Tweed residents.  Further, two dams have a much larger surface area than one dam and hence there would be greater evaporation losses also reducing the amount of water available to Tweed residents. In the case of Tweed, one dam is preferable to two.

    What about demand management?

    Council has employed demand management and water efficiency initiatives for many years and will continue to do so.

    Since 2008, through these initiatives, Council has significantly reduced demand for water from more than 230 litres a person per day to 180 litres a day by 2013 and is now targeting 170 litres a day by June 2017. Already we have increased the longevity of our current water supply from 2019 to 2026.

    What is the method of controlling mosquitoes at the dam?

    None. This currently is not an issue.

    What are the options for providing access when McCabe’s Bridge is inundated?

    The options for maintaining access have been identified as:

    ·  Build a new higher bridge at the existing McCabe’s Bridge site

    ·  Build an entirely new road into the area to link Doon Doon Road upstream of McCabe’s Bridge to Commissioners Creek Road.

    A report on both these options will be presented to affected stakeholders to determine their preference. Should a clear preference be indicated, Council will take that option forward.

    Years ago Kyogle Road near Dave Gibbons’ property was raised. How far was it raised?

    From current contour information the height of Kyogle Road along the frontage of No 2261, varies approximately 45m to 52m AHD (Australian Height Datum)

    What geophysical preparations have been undertaken (at McCabe’s Bridge) to date?

    None at this stage.

    What is going to happen to McCabe’s bridge? If McCabe’s bridge is not rebuilt, will the bridge be removed as it would be an extreme safety hazard?

    McCabe’s bridge will be inundated. The old bridge will be demolished if necessary. An Options Report is expected to be provided in March 2018.

    Where is the access road going to go?

    At this stage, we do not know.  It will depend on property purchases and flood levels for the 1:5, 1:10, 1:20 and 1:100-year floods at this location and then compared to other locations on the roads back to Uki. 

    What will be the impact on Kyogle Road?

    None, except for construction traffic.

    Are all the roads going to be sealed?

    Within the limits of reason and while balancing the needs of all sectors of the community, Council will look at the impact of the runoff from Doon Doon and Commissioners Creek roads on water quality in the raised Clarrie Hall Dam.  If it is found that the runoff does impact water quality and it is cost-effective to undertake roadworks to mitigate that impact, Council will seek to have some roadworks included in the project.

    Will the dam be raised further?

    Very unlikely.  A study was completed by NSW Water Solutions in 2008 that considered the options for raising Clarrie Hall Dam and determined the optimum size for Clarrie Hall Dam.  The report concluded that a full service level (spillway level) of 70m was considered the maximum optimum dam size.  The Report is published on Council’s website.

    Last time they talked about raising the wall of Clarrie Hall Dam they also talked about putting in a second spillway at the back of Carol Evans’s place. What was that about and why isn’t it required now?

    At that time, the proposal was to raise the wall to 80 metres or higher. That is 10 or more metres higher than what we now propose. If the dam wall was to be raised to 80 metres or higher, a spillway or a smaller dam wall would be needed in the saddle near McDonald’s Road.  As it is proposed to raise the wall to only 70 metres, no spillway or other works will be required in that area as the saddle is approximately 85m well above the Probable Maximum Flood of 77m. Nevertheless, we will investigate and confirm the assumptions about the geology of the area to ensure it poses no risks.

    With respect to the saddle near McDonald’s Road, will there need to be a concrete apron on the dam side?

    Council is undertaking geotechnical investigations which will clarify any impact in this area.

    What is meant by the term Probable Maximum Flood?

    There are two concepts to be understood in relation to the Probable Maximum Flood. The first is the Probable Maximum Precipitation, which is the theoretical greatest depth of precipitation for a given duration that is physically possible over a given size storm area at a particular geographic location.

    The Probable Maximum Flood is then ‘the flood that may be expected from the most severe combination of critical meteorological and hydrologic conditions that are reasonably possible in the drainage basin under study’.

    For Clarrie Hall Dam, the event is beyond a 1:10,000,000-year event and has flows nearly twice that of the 1:10,000-year event.

    The dam raising and spillway will be designed based on the PMF.

    We have heard there was a study saying the raised dam would not fill. Is this true?

    No.  There was a study by SMEC that used course criteria to consider a number of water supply options.  That study recommended further studies, which have now been undertaken.  The original SMEC Report, the further studies and an updated commentary on the SMEC Report are available on Council’s website.  The dam will fill.

    How often will the dam be ‘empty’ and how often ‘full’? Are there any issue moving between these extremes?

    Dams operate between full and empty. They are full when filled by runoff and rain and they empty as water is drawn from them. There is no issue in a dam water level moving between full and empty. That is what they are designed to do.

    What is the optimal size for Clarrie Hall Dam?

    A study by NSW Water Solutions in 2008 determined the optimum size of Clarrie Hall Dam was 42,300 ML with the wall of the dam raised to an elevation of 70 metres.

    Will the inflow maintain the water level in a drier season?

    No. The inflow of water into the dam in a dry season may not maintain the water level in the dam as the water drawn from the dam for the Tweed District Water Supply may be greater than the inflow.  The dam and any water storage for water supplies are designed to capture water in wet periods and release the water in drier periods.  As such, in dry periods water may be drawn from the dam and the water level will fall. In wet periods, the water taken from the dam during drier periods will be replenished.

    How much water will flow in after six weeks of no rain?

    There is no quantitative answer to this question.  The flow into the dam is dependent on many things, such as the moisture in the ground, flow from springs in the catchment and run-off.  As an example, if there had been a protracted wet period in cooler months, after six weeks of no rain there would still be a significant flow into the dam from springs and ground water.  If, on the other hand, there had been a protracted dry period or drought that depleted soil moisture and only a short weak rainfall event before the six weeks of no rain, it is probable there would be no flow into the dam after six weeks of no rain.

    How high will the evaporation rate be?

    In undertaking the water balance for the dam and Council’s water supply, Consultants have estimated evaporation rates based on 1 degree increase in temperature.  Typically, the evaporation rate has been taken as approximately 1477mm per year at present, increasing to 1565mm per year with climate change. However, actual rates are very much seasonal and weather dependant. 

    How much water will be dispersed into the ground?

    The dam is on an igneous rock foundation that is basically impermeable.  That being said, all dams leak or have seepage to some extent or, more accurately, seepage water from within the dam wall.  The water comes from inside the dam and from rainfall that falls on to the dam wall and enters the dam wall.  The seepage is required to maintain the dam in good condition.  The rate of seepage from Clarrie Hall Dam is monitored daily and is typically less than 1 litre per second, rising significantly in times of wet weather.

    Will CHD be shallower in a lot of areas?

    No. The footprint of the existing dam (2.25 square kilometres) will be 8.5m deeper. The additional surface area of 2.07 square kilometres will vary in depth from zero to 8.5m.

    The volume of the raised dam increases by a factor of 2.76 and the surface area only increases by a factor of 1.93.  Therefore the raised dam has a 30% lower surface area ratio to volume than currently, making it overall a deeper body of water.

    Does the existing CHD have to be lowered to 20% to build the wall; if so what happens in drought?

    Based on present planning, no. The water level may be reduced during the construction of the spillway component and, if this were to occur, the water level would only be lowered to that extent to allow construction over the old spillway (prevent fill materials being washed away).  When upgrading the existing spillway, which was completed in 2014, the water level was maintained at or above 93% capacity, which was approximately 1.5 meters below full level.  The risk of a drought during construction will be analysed prior to Detailed Design.  Nevertheless, the risk of a drought and the effects on the water level will be similar to those when the spillway was upgraded.

    We have heard the bedrock under the dam is unstable. Is this true?

    No. This is not true.

    Do you have to dig new footings to raise the wall?

    No. The dam was designed to be raised. The dam is founded on rock strata underneath the dam wall.  To raise the dam, we will place material on the downstream face of the present wall, extend that material to a height of 8.5m above the existing dam wall.  The material placed on the downstream side of the dam wall will be founded on a sound stripped rock surface of the existing rock strata.  The surfacing on the upstream face of the dam will be extended upwards to the top of the raised dam wall.

    If there is a major flood when the additional wall is half built, what happens then?

    This possibility will be explored and mitigation strategies put in place during the risk assessment for the project.

    Will the spillway be widened?

    The new spillway crest will be wider to ensure the Probable Maximum Flood level does not exceed the 77m AHD.  At present it is envisaged it will be between 40 and 50m wide.  The actual width will be determined during the concept design phase.  Council will aim to maximise the width of the spillway to the extent it is cost effective to do so, that is, if the cost of making it a few meters wider than the minimum design requirement is not excessive, then it is likely Council would adopt a wider spillway.

    What are the modes of failure of the dam and what are the probabilities of those failures occurring?

    A study undertaken in 2008 identified three (3) modes of failure for the dam.  They were:

    1.  Failure due to piping

    2.  Failure due to overtopping, and

    3.  Failure due to seismic activity.

    At that time, the most probable cause of failure was failure due to ‘overtopping’ (that is, flooding) and the probability of that failure in any year was estimated at approximately 1 in 53,191.  This risk was considered unacceptable and works were undertaken to eliminate it, hence the existing spillway was upgraded in 2014.

    The next most probable cause of failure was failure due to earthquake.

    The Clarrie Hall Dam Risk Assessment Report is highly technical but is available on request.

    If the wall of Clarrie Hall Dam breaches, will Uki go under? Will Murwillumbah go under?

    If the wall of Clarrie Hall Dam breaches the impact would be similar to the 1:100 flood.  Due to the impact that could occur if the dam breached, the risk is managed by designing the dam to cater for the probable maximum flood, seismic activity, water flow through the wall and a range of other factors.  The Dam Safety Committee will review the design of the dam to ensure it is safe.  Further, a new Dam Safety Emergency Plan will be prepared for the raised dam to detail the activities to be undertaken if there is any increased risk to the dam through an incident like an earthquake or a 1:100 year flood.

    Can the flooding that occurred in the Lockyer Valley happen here with Clarrie Hall Dam?

    No. The Grantham Flood of 2011 occurred after water was released from Wivenhoe Dam. The same situation cannot occur here because as soon as Clarrie Hall Dam overtops water is released via the spillway.  Clarrie Hall Dam, unlike Wivenhoe Dam, does not have floodgates that hold the water back until such time as the gates are opened.  That is, Clarrie Hall Dam is not a flood-mitigation dam.

    What about pollution and water quality?

    Where there is owner agreement, Council is purchasing land within the catchment immediately adjacent to the dam.  The reason for this is to try and ensure that water coming into the dam is not polluted from such things as cattle grazing, land clearing or agriculture.  
    The water quality in the dam is also monitored on a weekly basis.  The most common issue with water quality in the dam is the seasonal ‘turn over’ of the dam, which occurs when water at the bottom of the dam rises to the top.  This causes aesthetic issues with iron and manganese but no health-related risk.
    It should also be noted that the water in the dam is released into the Tweed River and Council draws its water from the Tweed River at Bray Park.  The greatest influence on the raw water at Bray Park is not the water quality in the dam but the water quality in the river.  The water quality at Bray Park is monitored daily.

    We have been told by an engineer that the deeper the water is the more unusable it is because it’s not aerated. Would the extra water in Clarrie Hall Dam be usable?

    The extra water in the dam will be usable. 

    Will Council plant Hoop Pines around the dam as it did when it was built or will there be more koala-friendly and plant koala habitat and food trees?

    This Council has a track record of being koala friendly and there are many examples of infrastructure projects where a range of native species attractive to koala have been planted. Council will not be planting Hoop Pine.

    Will there be a fish ladder?

    At this time it is not known whether there will be a fish ladder on the raised Clarrie Hall Dam.  As to whether a fish ladder is required will be determined through the environmental flow and aquatic ecology studies.

    Do cattle have to be excluded from the PMF area?

    No, but they will be excluded from the agreed property boundary.

    What are the risks of aquatic weeds, blue-green alga and evaporation?

    These risks, while generally unchanged to now may be slightly reduced due to a bigger and deeper water body.

    A dam management plan will be developed to control aquatic weeds and blue-green algae.  Some ideas being considered include the profiling of the ground at the top water level of the dam so that the land falls steeply away and the area for aquatic weeds to propagate is reduced.  Further, if it is found that there is a propensity for blue-green algae, Council will consider the four factors precipitating blooms - being nutrient presence, high water temperature, time and sunlight - to determine control measures.  Typically, where required, the control measure is to mix the water to reduce the time water stays in a high temperature and sunny environment, limiting and / or preventing algal blooms.

    What about the dip runoff adjacent to Doon Doon Creek to ensure it doesn’t impact the dam?

    The risk this dip poses does not change. 

    What is cold water pollution and how will it be dealt with in a raised Clarrie Hall Dam?

    Cold water pollution is the release of cold water, typically from the bottom of a dam, into a downstream water course causing a temperature shock to the aquatic ecosystem.  It can cause harm to some aquatic fauna.

    Cold water pollution will be managed, as far as possible, by only releasing water from the upper portions of the water body where the temperature of the water is similar to the downstream water temperature.

    How many properties is Council buying?

    Council needs to purchase part of 17 properties in total. Initially it was 16 but another has been identified where the inundation just touches the current property boundary so a very small portion of land will need to be acquired from this landowner as well.

    Would Council prefer to buy whole properties?

    Council has no preference but is willing to buy whole properties within the catchment because that will allow us to ‘lock out’ normal agricultural activities on those properties and better protect the quality of the water in the dam.  That said, any property purchased raises the cost of the project.

    How do we value land?

    Council has engaged a registered Valuer to value each property.  Additionally, Council will use the Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991 as a guide to determine further compensation for:

    ·  Any special value of land

    ·  Any loss attributable to severance

    ·  Any loss attributable to disturbance which may include legal costs, stamp duty and other financial costs reasonably incurred, and


    Will you take into account my loss of income? How will you assess my loss of income?

    Council will consider all reasonable and justifiable financial losses you will incur. 

    How can any Valuer doing 17 valuations be considered independent?

    The Valuer engaged by Council is a registered Valuer from Lismore. Council has used his services for many years and he knows Tweed Shire well. By definition, Valuers are independent.  Using a single Valuer for all valuations will ensure consistency for all landowners in the valuations process.

    Will the Valuer be qualified to value rural land?

    Yes, the Valuer is a registered valuer who assesses rural, urban and commercial properties.

    Can I get an independent valuation?

    Yes.  First, Council will have your land valued and provide that valuation to you. Then, if you want to get an independent valuation, you can do so and Council will pay for that (capped at $6000) on the provision of an invoice addressed to Council.

    Still not satisfied, landowners can get a second independent valuation if they choose. Council will pay for (again capped at $6000) this valuation, too.

    Council asks that any Independent Valuer engaged is – at the very least – an Associate of the Australian Property Institute.

    To ensure the integrity of any independent valuation, Council advises landowners not to pass on previous valuations.

    What happens if the independent valuation is more than the valuation provided by Council?

    Council will get the two valuers to talk it through to understand the differences and the arguments supporting those differences.  The two valuers will work together to achieve an agreed value.

    What happens if the independent valuation is less than the valuation provided by Council?

    Council will rely on the higher valuation provided by Council.

    For Capital Gains Tax considerations that any landowner may have, is Council purchasing the land required to raise Clarrie Hall Dam by way of Private Treaty or Compulsory Acquisition?

    Council will proceed by private treaty any purchase of land where the terms are agreed, this complies with a policy requirement from the Office of Local Government.

    This approach is also preferred because it allows the compensation, and purchase price, to be paid at the completion of the contract period, rather than having to wait for the finalisation of the compulsory acquisition application.

    This process requires Council to lodge an application to compulsorily acquire, wait for the assessment and approval, and then having to issue a Proposed Acquisition Notice, with a standard 90-day period, and then wait for the Valuer General to provide a determination within a further 28-day period.  This prolongs the process for the vendor, and will only be undertaken where there is no agreement reached with a landowner.

    Would Council accept a caveat or condition to ‘null and void’ a sale contract in the event the project was stopped?

    Once Council has resolved to purchase a specific property, then that sale would proceed.  Council can delay resolving the purchase of a property in consideration of the owner’s wishes.

    Would Council consider a “land swap” as part of my negotiations for the sale of my property?

    Council has committed to not pass on or on-sell any land it purchases for this current project.  If you wish to purchase land Council already owns, this would not be a matter for this project and should be raised as a separate issue.  Any sale of Council land would be undertaken in accordance with the Local Government Act. 

    How long will it take sales to go through?

    Should a private treaty agreement be negotiated, a Council resolution to purchase the property is required under the Local Government Act.  Thereafter, a standard four-week contract can apply.  The contract period can be negotiated to suit both parties, eg, six or eight-week contracts can be drawn.

    Will Council compensate me for the greater risk I assume if I retain the PMF land?

    No.  If you do not want any of the risks associated with the PMF land, the land can be sold to Council.

    How do you value loss of amenity? Dreams?

    It is very hard to value the loss of amenity or dreams.  However, legally, the Land Acquisition Act 1991 sets out Just Terms Compensation for situations like this where private property needs to be purchased.

    Council will be guided by the Act and the Act does provide that landowners who need to relocate because of the acquisition can be entitled to a payment for ‘solatium’.  The amount of ‘solatium’ is fixed by the Minister at regular intervals and was recently raised from $27,235 to $75,000.

    The Act also provides that landowners are compensated for:

    ·  Market value of land

    ·  Any special value of land

    ·  Any loss attributable to severance, and

    Any loss attributable to disturbance, which may include legal costs, stamp duty and 

    ·  other financial costs reasonably incurred.

    Council will engage a registered Valuer to determine the value of the property.

    If we sell, will we be allowed to stay in our house while we find another property to buy?

    Yes.  Council will allow the current owners of properties who sell their existing dwelling to remain in that dwelling for 12 months while finding another home to live in.  This will be facilitated under a Licence to Occupy, which differs from a residential tenancy lease in that the property is occupied in as-is condition and that the Occupier is responsible for all maintenance and user costs, including public liability insurance; cannot sub-let; and, cannot make any improvements or alterations to the property.  Council will consider extending the 12-month Licence to Occupy period on a case-by-case basis.

    The legal clause to be included in all sale contracts where the current owner wishes to stay in the house for the initial 12-month period while looking for another house to rent or buy will read:

    1.  Possession following completion

    (a) The Vendor shall be entitled to continue to occupy the property for twelve months following completion with no fee payable for such occupation, notwithstanding any other provision in the Contract, the Vendor shall not be required to give possession of the property to the Purchaser on completion.

    (b) The Vendor accepts the property in its current state and condition and shall pay for all utility services connected to the property, including but not limited to electricity, telephone and gas services.

    (c) The Vendor must not following completion;

    (i) let or part with possession of any of the property;

    (ii) make any change or structural or addition to the property;

    (iii) contravene any direction, legislation, notice or order affecting the property;

    (d) The Vendor must following completion;

    (i) keep the property in a good condition and repair having regard to its condition at the date of completion

    (ii) continue to accept all risk and insure the property for public risk liability arising from the ongoing occupation of the property during the term of occupation.

    2.  Further occupation after 12 months

    (a) In the event that the Vendor seeks to occupy the property for a further period at the expiry of the twelve month period THEN the Vendor shall give written notice to the Purchaser at least two months prior to the expiry date and if the Vendor has complied with special condition 1 the Purchaser shall grant a further right to occupy to the Vendor for a period to be agreed between the parties.

    (b) Should the Vendor continue to occupy the property as agreed in special condition 2(a) THEN the Vendor shall pay a rental to be determined to be the current residential rental amount for the property by a local registered real estate agent operating within the Tweed local government area.

    (c) The Vendor obligations arising under special condition 1 shall continue to be in force during any further period of occupation granted by the Purchaser pursuant to this special condition.

    3.  Special conditions 1 and 2 shall not merge on completion.

    4.  Disturbance and Solatium

    The Purchaser acknowledges that this Contract is entered into consequent upon the Purchaser paying to the Vendor on completion the following amount in addition to the purchase price:

    (a) $xxxxxx on account of solatium and disturbance.

    Will Council pay my legal fees?

    Yes. Council will pay any reasonable cost attributable to you selling your land, which can include legal fees.  This is included in the determination of compensation for the purchase of any land.

    Will Council pay my accounting fees?

    If accounting fees can be shown to be a reasonable cost attributable to you selling your land, Council will pay these costs.  This is included in the determination of compensation for the purchase of any land.

    What is the impact on plans to subdivide?

    Any application to subdivide needs to meet the conditions for sub-division. That said, however, Council is purchasing land affected by inundation as a result of the raising of Clarrie Hall Dam and will purchase affected properties in whole, part or parts as requested by the landowner.

    What happens to our pumping rights?

    Pumping rights for stock and domestic purposes will be unchanged.  Pumps, however, will need to be relocated to higher ground as water levels change.

    Why are we doing land acquisition so early?

    Most landowners impacted by the raising of Clarrie Hall Dam have some choice with respect to selling all, part or none of their land. Council has opened sale negotiations early so that impacted landowners have as much time as possible to assess the impact of the dam on their property, lifestyle and future plans and get the best deal available to them.  By starting early, sales can occur as normal real estate transactions, with the purchaser and the vendor negotiating the terms of the sale (area, price, settlement date and any other conditions).

    As the project progresses and the construction of the dam wall draws nearer, Council’s ability to negotiate becomes compromised and it may have to rely more on the powers it has to resume land under the Land Acquisition Act 1991.  Land resumptions can be painful for both parties and Council would like to avoid this process for the benefit of all parties.

    Will Council treat all landowners on an equal basis?

    Yes.  Council will negotiate with all landowners based on independent valuations of their properties.  Council commits to keeping all land purchased in Council’s ownership as it is in the community’s interest to “lock up” and “protect” as much of our catchment as possible.

    When will Council trigger using the Land Acquisition Act 1991 if they don’t get the land sales needed now under private treaty?

    It is Council's preferred positon that land purchases be undertaken through negotiation and private treaty.  In general, to undertake the land acquisition by compulsory acquisition advantages no one.

    Council needs to have purchased the land or at least have contracts in place for the purchase at the time construction starts.  If Council cannot reach an agreement with a landowner for the purchase of land, the compulsory acquisition process would take about 6 to 12 months.  Council would therefore consider commencing compulsory acquisition procedures 12 months before construction is scheduled to start, which would definitely make it sometime after 2020.

    Council does not want to pressure landowners into making rushed decisions but rather give them the full benefit of the time they have through this early engagement so land purchases can be through negotiation and private treaty. 

    Will Crams Farm still be open to the public when it is reduced in size by almost half? Will there be another Cram's Farm?

    Yes.  While Crams Farm will be reduced in size by 45 per cent. All the buildings and shelters will remain above the dam’s full service level of 70m AHD (Australian Height Datum) and will continue to be available for public recreational use.

    Whether Council adds additional land for community recreation will depend on what land Council purchases and what community amenity that land could provide.  Council provides land for community recreation where and when it can but does not actively pursue these opportunities.

    Will Council replace the boat ramp and any other infrastructure used by the public at Crams Farm that is inundated by raised CHD?

    Yes.  It is Council’s intention to maintain the public facilities offered at Cram’s Farm.

    What will Council do with the land it buys that is not inundated by the raised dam?

    Council is buying land in the area for the purposes of a water catchment and the land it purchases will be ‘locked up’ and managed to improve water quality in the dam.  Council does not want people or livestock living in the catchment.

    Will Council use any of the land it buys for public recreational purposes, such as a new Cram’s Farm?

    Council would consider another “Cram’s Farm’ (passive recreational use) if it purchased a property that lent itself to this community purpose.  That, however, would require good all-weather access; suitable and well maintained buildings that could be readily repurposed as community buildings; well maintained and easily managed land etc.

    What will happen to the houses you buy as part of the land acquisition? Will there be left empty for squatters and vandalism or demolished?

    Any house that is unapproved or in such condition that it would not meet the standard required to lease under the Residential Tenancies Act will be demolished once any Licence to Occupy period has expired.  Any house that is approved and is in a fit condition to lease and has no impediments or likely impediments regarding access to the property may be retained by Council and rented under a Residential Tenancies Lease agreement. All properties will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. 

    Can neighbouring landowners place a covenant on that part of the land they sell to Council to allow unimpeded views of the dam from their houses?

    No.  Council will work with individual landowners to protect amenity as each requires but is unwilling to place a covenant on the land because of the unknown future consequences of such a move.

    Tweed lives on agriculture and tourism. What about these industries?

    Tourism contributes $278 million to the Tweed Shire economy every year.  Council has a proactive Business and Economic Development division that works to increase economic opportunity within the shire.  Council also owns and operates the Tweed Regional Gallery and Margaret Olley Art Centre, the Tweed Regional Museum and 7 Holiday Parks and leverages opportunities to promote the area from these businesses.  Council also works closely with Destination Tweed.  The fact of having a larger Clarrie Hall Dam is not expected to have any adverse effect on tourism.

    Do we need to build a pipeline from SEQ to supply Tweed during construction?

    No. We do not need to build a pipeline for supply during construction. We need to build a pipeline in case a major piece of water infrastructure fails, such as the Bray Park Water Treatment Plant, due to a natural disaster, fire or contamination of the catchment, water reticulation or trunk network. 

    Is there any size limit to the growth of the shire?

    There is no population growth limit at this time. Current resident population is about 92,000 and is forecast to grow to about 126,000 by 2031, but this could vary significantly owing to such things as government policy intervention, natural disaster or lack of water security.