HARNESS Racing NSW chief John Dumesny blames the weather for the delay in the commencement of the construction of the harness track on the Murrumbidgee floodplain. ("Weather reins in harness complex", DA, October 17).
There is no doubt that the water-logged area, formerly earmarked for a part of a northern lake, has been inaccessible to heavy machinery due to the winter rain, not to mention the constant threat of flooding as the land in question is officially designated as a high hazard floodway. Harness Racing NSW was indeed warned by many about the vulnerability of the proposed site to water logging and inundation. However, the fact is that even without an imminent threat of floods, it is not in the least bit unusual for this particular area to be water-logged during winter where the water table frequently comes to the surface. Any digging quickly produces lake-like conditions where surface soil is disturbed.
The former owner of the land, who in good faith sold his property to council for the lake, could attest to its high susceptibility to water logging, even in summer. Yet the Harness Racing NSW chief summarily dismisses the concerns of respected Wagga citizens John Hogan and Dan Grentell, both of who have extensive and intimate local knowledge of the area's flood patterns and associated risks. Rightly, these gentlemen are greatly concerned about the impact of the proposed flood plain developments for a wide range of Wagga properties.
The truth is that Harness Racing NSW, despite citing the weather, has simply not been in a position to give the go ahead for construction to start on the site as it has not yet even sought approval, let alone received approval from WaterNSW for the flood works. Such specific approval from WaterNSW was a listed major condition before a construction certificate could be issued. Of course, whether approval is actually provided takes into account a range of factors, including the relevant floodplain management plan, the rules of this plan including whether it has been properly updated after a flood event and possible impacts on neighbouring properties.
It should also be recalled that it was only on the casting vote of the external chair of the Southern Joint Regional Planning Panel that the racetrack was given the conditional approval in November 2015. Significantly, council representatives on the joint panel actually voted against the proposal and did so with strong justification. I understand that WaterNSW has written to HRNSW properly reminding them of the strict requirement for approval of the flood works before construction could begin. I was advised that WaterNSW had still not received the required application from HRNSW for approval of the flood works.
Thomas Watson, Wagga
In regards to the Ford Motor Company closing its car manufacturing plant in Australia this month, the cause as we all know “globalisation”. Free trade, too many cheap imports (Four-wheel drives) to higher dollar, high Australian wages (input costs), and low traffic on inputs. As a car salesman said to me “it goes back to the prime minister and union leaders of the early seventies and since the Malcolm Fraser years, no intervention in the economy (no government) continues and makes true the comment. They don’t want us to make anything, but one worrying aspect out of all this is you export your technology and transfer jobs off shore and import unemployment (only academics would make that mistake - university). Yours sincerely, “free trade”, from a regular reader - Australia’s gone.
Adam Smith, MIA
HERE we have a company wanting to build a piggery in Harden, which would provide work for people. We have objectors who have nothing in their own life and do not want anyone to have some in their life. These people have tried to interfere with everything on the land. They have stuck their noses into the cattle, sheep, wool, eggs, pigs, water; it doesn’t matter about the crops farmers need to grow. The mosquitoes are more important to breed and spread their diseases. These parasites are running the country because the government have not got enough guts. They should be given a one-way ticket to China.
C B Yeo, Wagga
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