There was a great deal of community interest in the Tweed District Water Supply Augmentation project and Demand Management Strategy, with a total of almost 250 submissions received by the close of submissions on 30 April 2010, the council said.

The council and its consultants are reviewing the submissions for both projects since the completion of the public consultation phase.

Consultants are also working on reports to provide additional information to the Multi-Criteria Analysis (MCA) and decision-making process. They must take into consideration:
– The latest planning and legislative requirements
– Environmental and ecological impacts
– Improved budget cost estimates
– Improved greenhouse gas emissions estimates.

Representatives of the Aboriginal community met with the council at an open meeting to provide additional information to the process.

Each of these activities will be finalised over the coming months to enable the council to make decisions on preferred approaches for the shire’s management of water demand, and augmentation of the water supply.

In addition, the council has been gauging the success of this phase of the community consultation process. The process represented a major undertaking for the council, both in terms of time and resources, and was important for the council to receive feedback.

Since submissions closed, former members of the Community Working Group (CWG) met with council officers to provide feedback on the positive and negative aspects of the process, and to recommend how the community consultation process could be improved in the future.

In addition, an independent observer from Southern Cross University has also provided the council with an independent viewpoint of the process, which is available for viewing on the council’s website