Protestors greet desal deadline
PROTESTORS met at the Victorian Desalination Project site in Wonthaggi on Sunday, signifying the day the plant was originally scheduled to be complete.
Around 30 members and supporters of Watershed, a group against the desal development, gathered to voice their concerns for the environmental impact they believe the plant may have in the Bass Coast.
Watershed vice-president Jessica Harrison said despite a “few annoying interchanges with the security guards”, the protest went well.
“We are making the point, strongly, that Aquasure won’t have our trust until they install permanent environment monitoring in the ocean off the desal site,” she said.
“In other countries, there has been an orange red tide from the chemical effluent expelled by the plant. We don’t want to see the Bass Coast in a similar condition.”
Ms Harrison said the protestors were also intrigued as to whether the over-due deadline was collecting penalty payments.
“Aquasure seem to have done some clever footwork and claim that they do not owe any penalty payments to the Victorian Government,” she said.
“As the contract is secret, we are unable to verify exactly how they have managed to save themselves $1.8 million per day, but it seems very strange considering any other construction project would have a contract which had penalty payments automatically built in.”
The group protested for a few hours, listening to a speech from Watershed president Mark Robertson, who explained the monitoring the community is doing along the Powlett River and for whales along the coast.
“It was a nice reunion for everyone, even though it was very cold,” she said.
“We never thought that when we originally evicted from the site that we’d be here three years later still looking at an unfinished project. The flood waters that we had to go past when going down to the site underline what a disaster the whole project is.”
Representatives from Aquasure did not react to the protest.
Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=3856