Diesel decision dumped
ALTHOUGH AquaSure has confirmed diesel generators will not be used to operate the Victorian Desalination Plant at this stage, residents are concerned about what might go wrong next.
Fearing a damaged power cable would not be fixed in time to make the June 30 water order deadline, diesel generators were transported to the Wonthaggi site as an alternative power source.
However, AquaSure CEO Matt Brassington confirmed permanent power was restored last Friday.
“The temporary contingency power supply will not need to be used. Preparations to deliver the 50GL water order will now commence,” he said.
This is a small relief for residents, who still feel using the desalination plant may have dangerous consequences.
“I believe they won’t need the generators at this stage but anything can happen. How long will it last?” desal opposition group Watershed Victoria president Mark Robertson said.
“It’s still coming at a cost to us and we don’t need the water. Water levels are higher than they were last year so all it’s done is upset the community greatly.”
Bass MLA Brian Paynter agreed the water order was unnecessary.
“This water order is one of the most ridiculous wastes of money I have ever seen,” he said.
“The minister is simply being stubborn and refused to consider all the information that points to the water not being needed. It’s another clear example of this government making reckless decisions and treating Victorians with disdain.”
Mr Robertson was concerned about the damage the desal plant would inflict on the fragile environment and believed the $27 million being spent on the water order could be better spent elsewhere.
“We want the money spent on the (Wonthaggi) secondary college or the Wonthaggi hospital,” he said.
If the diesel generators were to be used in the future, Mr Robertson said his concerns would be for local children – particularly those who attend Powlett River Primary School in Dalyston – as well as asthmatics and cardiac patients.
“Operating the plant normally is going to be just as bad. We don’t know how far the noise and pollution will spread. This community has been treated disrespectfully,” he said.
Mr Paynter said he has had huge support from community members wanting to cancel the water order.
“Whilst the local community sits waiting for a new education precinct, this government places a $27 million water order while our storage levels are above last year’s. This is an incredible waste of Victorians’ money,” he said.
“Locals are disgusted by this government’s continued waste of money.”
Mr Robertson and Watershed have been protesting the desalination plant for years and will continue to do so.
“We’ve have been ignored and we are worn out, but we have to keep standing up for what’s right,” he said.
AquaSure confirmed water production will now begin and continue until the end of June, and will keep the community updated.
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